Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and John Thune (R-S.D.) introduced the “Cyber Security Exchange Act” on Monday, aimed at bringing more cybersecurity experts to the federal workforce, according to The Hill. The bipartisan legislation would create an exchange program that would allow cybersecurity experts at private firms or in academic roles to work for federal agencies for up to two years, while federal workers in turn would have the opportunity to work in the private sector as a way to brush up on the latest in cybersecurity practices.
While the recent government shutdown further spread cybersecurity resources thin, the struggle to address the cybersecurity worker shortage in the federal government is not new. With this bill, Klobuchar and Thune seek to address the need for an improved approach to cybersecurity at the federal level. “Our country’s cybersecurity should be a top priority, but currently, our government needs additional cyber security experts to ensure we are not vulnerable to attacks from adversaries and cybercriminals,” Klobuchar said in a statement.
A recent study from tech research firm Comparitech.com comparing cybersecurity measures found that the US ranked fifth among 60 nations—coming in behind Japan, France, Canada, and Denmark. The study looked at factors such as malware rates and cybersecurity-related legislation to evaluate countries’ preparedness for cyberattacks. But cybersecurity preparedness is a full-time task filled with moving targets. Email fraud attacks on the healthcare sector alone in the US increased by 473 percent between the first quarter of 2017 and the fourth quarter of 2017, according to HealthITSecurity.
The exchange would leverage a broader expanse of invaluable knowledge in the industry, according to Thune. “[T]he exchange of ideas and best practice that this bill would facilitate would better position our national security community” against cybersecurity threats, he said in a statement.
Klobuchar also noted the importance of privacy in a recent speech, citing identity theft and data mining concerns—issues the healthcare industry is growing all too familiar with. “We need to put some digital rules of the road into law when it comes to privacy,” she said.
Sarah Sheber is assistant editor/web editor at Journal of AHIMA.