The House passed two bills on Tuesday to strengthen cybersecurity for small businesses, which have faced mounting threats during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Small Business Administration (SBA) Cyber Awareness Act would require the SBA to issue a report on its cybersecurity capabilities and notify Congress in the event of a cybersecurity breach that could compromise confidential information.
The legislation, sponsored by the Reps. Jason ravenJason Crow The United States Must Lead The Way In Artificial Intelligence Standards Colorado Reallocation Plan Creates A New Competitive District Night Defense And Homeland Security – Presented By AM General – Afghan Evacuation Still Frustrates MORE (D-Colo.) And Young kimRepublican lawmakers say innovation and business rules are key to small business profits. Republican lawmakers garner support from the candidate following comments about Chinese immigrants. US mourns victims of Atlanta shooting MORE (R-Calif.), Was previously approved by the House in 2019, but it did not become law during the last Congress. It was approved unanimously on Tuesday 423-0.
Defending passage of the bill, Crow on Tuesday pointed to an incident earlier this year that exposed the information than 8,000 people applying for the SBA Economic Damage Disaster Loan Program.
“Cyberattacks are one of the biggest threats to our economy, small businesses and lifestyle,” Crow said in the House of Representatives before the vote. “This bill would ensure that we are doing everything we can to protect the millions of small businesses served by the SBA and prepare them for the threats of the 21st century.”
The House also approved, by a vote of 409 to 14, the The Small Business Development Center Cyber Training Act, sponsored primarily by senior member of the House Homeland Security Committee cyber subcommittee Andrew Garbarino (RN.Y.).
The bill would establish a cybersecurity advisory certification program to help existing Small Business Development Centers better assist businesses with their cybersecurity needs.
“Cyber attacks are on the rise and small businesses are increasingly vulnerable,” Garbarino said in the House of Representatives on Tuesday. “Nearly 50 percent of cyberattacks are targeting small businesses, which can result in devastating financial, intellectual property and reputational loss.”
“Small businesses are targeted because they often lack the resources or technical knowledge necessary to implement and maintain cybersecurity defenses,” he added. “This bill combats this by helping Small Business Development Centers to be better equipped to assist small businesses with their cybersecurity and cyber strategy needs.”
The House took action on bills near the end of a year that has seen an increase in cyber threats against small businesses, particularly as more were forced to move their businesses online during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The ransomware attack on IT company Kaseya in July affected up to 1,500 companies, many of them small businesses, and experts have warned that smaller organizations are much more likely to fail from a cyberattack than a larger company with more resources.
The Senate has also taken steps to help insure small businesses, with a group of senators earlier this year. presenting legislation to require credit bureaus to notify small businesses of data breaches within 30 days.