Government Regulations, Critical Infrastructure Security

Stronger food, agriculture cyber resilience pushed by new legislation

CyberScoop reports that increasing cyberattacks against the food and agriculture sector have prompted the introduction of the Farm and Food Cybersecurity Act by Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., and Tom Cotton, R-Ark., and Reps. Elissa Slotkin, D-Mich., and Brad Finstad, R-Minn., seeking more robust cybersecurity defenses in the industry. Aside from requiring a report evaluating the sector's cybersecurity threats and vulnerabilities from the agriculture secretary, the legislation would also mandate collaboration between the secretaries of agriculture, health and human services, and homeland security, and the national intelligence director in annual cybersecurity exercises. Such exercises would be crucial in strengthening data sharing within the food and agriculture industry, as well as evaluate the cyber preparedness of governments and the private sector, according to the bill, which has received the support of the Agricultural Retailers Association, American Farm Bureau, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. "No longer just some tech issue, cyber attacks have the potential to upend folks' daily lives and threaten our food supply... This legislation will require the Department of Agriculture to work closely with our national security agencies to ensure that adversaries like China can't threaten our ability to feed ourselves by ourselves," said Slotkin.

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