Two congressmen on Monday introduced a bipartisan cybersecurity bill that proponents say will modernize regulations while providing law enforcement with more resources to investigate and prosecute criminals.

Reps. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., and Steve Chabot, R-Ohio, introduced the Cyber Security Enhancement Act, which would update criminal code to include new age attacks, such as botnets and other electronic data theft. The revisions would make it easier for authorities to catch violators employing modern technology to launch their attacks, according to a statement from Chabot’s office.

In addition, the legislation would increase penalties for offenders while offering additional funding and tools for investigators and prosecutors, according to the statement, which did not specify what resources would be made available.

"Cybercrime is a lucrative operation for high-tech criminals that can bring severe hardship and financial loss to victims," Chabot said. "We must modernize our laws to better protect consumers and business owners from cybercriminals who hijack computers to steal personal information or disrupt critical business functions."

The security vendor community praised the legislation as a step in the right direction.

"It really puts the spotlight on the criminal, (instead of) the victim," Shannon Kellogg, director of information security policy at EMC, told SCMagazine.com today. "We're talking about 21st century crimes, so we need 21st century laws. I think we need to look at the legal code every several years."

Robert Holleyman, president and CEO of the Business Software Alliance, told SCMagazine.com today that he was pleased to see the bill supported by both sides of the aisle.

"It's a strong bipartisan bill at a time when there's a partisan angle (in Congress)," said Holleyman, whose organization represents 24 major hardware and software companies, including Symantec, McAfee and EMC. "It's great to see these sorts of gems that rise to the surface, where there is broad agreement from the interested leaders in both parties to try to act."

Kellogg said the bill shows lawmakers are taking IT security seriously.

"This, combined with the fact that you have a number of data security and breach bills that are starting to move their way through Congress...I think it's absolutely signaling that Congress is putting more emphasis on these issues," he said, adding that it was also positive to see the legislation introduced after the President's Identity Theft Task Force last month recommended many of the bill's components.

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