U.S. Rep. Tony CardenasSAN FERNANDO, Calif. /California Newswire/ — In Washington, D.C., Thursday evening, U.S. Rep. Tony Cárdenas (D-San Fernando Valley) introduced critical legislation to improve cybersecurity in the United States, which passed the U.S. House unanimously. The three pieces of legislation were amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

The Cárdenas amendments will ensure the United States is prepared to face the electronic security challenges of today and tomorrow by expanding our understanding of the economic impact of cyber intrusions and identifying ways to protect intellectual property.

“Both our economy and our national defense are threatened by challenges that can only be overcome through superior cybersecurity,” said Cárdenas. “The Defense Department must fully understand causes and impacts of electronic attacks and intrusions. Along with our military technology, we must protect businesses in this nation that lose billions each year when intellectual property is stolen.

“We cannot afford to fall behind in this area; the consequences are too costly. These common-sense amendments address issues that are critical to ensuring the security of our electronic footprint and our economic well-being.”

The first amendment mandates that Defense Department investigations related to the electronic compromise of critical program information include an estimate of economic losses resulting from the intrusion and any actions needed to protect intellectual property.

Last year, Symantec estimated that U.S. companies lose roughly $250 billion annually as a result of IP theft.

The second amendment establishes an outreach and education program to educate small businesses on cyber threats and develop plans to protect intellectual property and their networks.

According to a report by National Cyber Security Alliance and Symantec, small businesses are not prepared to defend against electronic attacks, though nearly half of all targeted attacks are aimed at companies with fewer than 500 employees.

Finally, the third amendment ensures that comprehensive mission analysis of cyber operations mandated in the NDAA includes an assessment of the retention, recruitment, and management of the cyber work force.

The NDAA, with the Cárdenas amendments, passed the House Friday afternoon.

VIDEO: “Rep. Cardenas introduces three amendments to increase cybersecurity.”

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