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April 20, 2021 4:49 pm

US Lawmakers Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Boost Cooperation with Israel in Fighting Cyberattacks

avatar by Sharon Wrobel

Employees, mostly veterans of military computing units, work at a cyber hotline facility at Israel’s Computer Emergency Response Centre (CERT) in Beersheba, southern Israel February 14, 2019. Photo: REUTERS/Amir Cohen.

As cybersecurity threats continue to rise, US senators have introduced legislation to boost technology cooperation with Israel and secure funding for up to $30 million to help thwart future malicious attacks.

A bipartisan group of US senators including Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Susan Collins (R-ME), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Todd Young (R-IN) on Monday introduced the so-called “US-Israel Cybersecurity Cooperation Enhancement Act,” which would create a grant program within the Department of Homeland Security dedicated to support cybersecurity research and development, and jointly develop cybersecurity technologies. The grant program would secure $6 million annually in funding for a period of five years.

“To help us stay ahead of the curve, this bipartisan legislation would enable greater collaboration between the United States and Israel — a major hub for new and emerging cybersecurity technologies,” commented Rosen. “Together, we can develop forward-thinking cybersecurity technologies and initiatives that protect both nations from malicious cyber actors.”

As part of the collaboration, private companies, non-profit organizations, academic institutions, and government entities in Israel or the US will be eligible for the grants, as long as they are part of a joint venture with a corresponding institution in the other country.

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According to Collins, “cyberattacks pose a grave risk to our national security, intellectual property, personal data, and public safety. The recent SolarWinds hack demonstrated how vulnerable US networks are to cyberattacks and should serve as a wake-up call about the need to address our glaring vulnerabilities.”

“At a time when our cyber defenses are being tested like never before, we must explore every avenue available to invest in cutting-edge cybersecurity research and innovation,” said Congressman Jim Langevin (D-RI), co-founder of the Congressional Cybersecurity Caucus, who also supports the legislation. “This bill will devote resources towards strengthening our cybersecurity partnership with our staunch ally Israel and yield valuable solutions to help keep Americans safe in cyberspace.”

In response to the introduction of the bipartisan bill, AIPAC tweeted, “As Americans and Israelis face mounting cyberattacks from adversaries like Iran, this cooperation will keep both countries safer.”

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