DHS eyes expanded cyber role

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is preparing to assume “far-reaching” oversight over all civilian agency computer networks.

Indeed, the Obama administration recently drafted a legislative proposal that would grant the DHS authority over .gov networks in an arrangement similar to the DoD’s oversight of .mil.

“I have to question why the Executive branch is writing legislation,” an unnamed source told Federal News Radio.

“This is not a proposal or white paper like the White House usually sends to Capitol Hill. This is the actual legislation.”

The above-mentioned initiative is expected to combine legislative proposals by Sens. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.), Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Tom Carper (D-Del.), as well as Office of Management and Budget’s memo from July 2010 expanding DHS’s authorities.

Unsurprisingly, the pending legislation would also expand the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act to include a series of criminal offensives for cyber attacks and confidentiality abuses, while broadening the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act to establish criminal penalties for cyber crime.

If passed, the bill would allow the DHS secretary to determine the definition of “critical infrastructure,” assess audit systems for cyber resilience and create an industry of third-party accreditors and evaluators.