House Bill Would Combat Cyber Threat at Federal Reserve

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Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., on Sept. 24 introduced H.R. 4458, the Cybersecurity and Financial System Resilience Act of 2019, to combat cybersecurity threats facing the Federal Reserve System.

McHenry, who is the top Republican on the House Financial Services Committee, said in a statement that “[t]his legislation works to ensure the Federal Reserve is prioritizing cybersecurity and modernization to combat the growing threat of cyberattacks to our financial system.”

The bill would give the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System 180 days from enactment of the legislation to provide a report and briefings to the House Financial Services Committee and Senate Banking Committee on its cybersecurity efforts. Following the initial report, the Board would be required to update Congress annually.

In the report, the Federal Reserve would be required to detail its policies and procedures that guard against “efforts to deny access to or degrade, disrupt, or destroy an information and communications technology system or network, or exfiltrate information from such a system or network without authorization”; destructive malware attacks; denial of service activities; and any other efforts that, in the determination of the Board, may threaten the functions of the Federal Reserve System by undermining cybersecurity.”

Additionally, the report would detail activities the Federal Reserve has undertaken to ensure the effective implementation of policies and procedures, including the appointment of qualified staff; the provision of staff training; the use of accountability measures to support staff performance; deployment of adequate resources and technologies; the development and dissemination of best practices regarding cybersecurity; and as appropriate, efforts to strengthen cybersecurity in coordination with departments and agencies of the Federal Government, foreign central banks, and other partners.

“We need to ensure the Fed is working with financial institutions, regulators, third-party service providers, and government partners to ensure that all parties are appropriately prioritizing and safeguarding American’s most sensitive information and our financial system,” McHenry said. “My bill ensures Congress is read-in on the Fed’s cybersecurity countermeasures, and its oversight functions of financial institutions, to help us better protect consumers from the threats of tomorrow.”

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