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China attack on Google stirs cybersecurity action

While the aim of the proposal will draw wide praise there are problems with making naming, shaming and penalizing other countries automatic.

The cyberattack originating from China against Google seems to have stirred both the Administration and Congress to take up the issue of cybercrime.

(Picture from ZDNet's cyber security blog, Zero Day.)

The Administration is looking to create a new ambassadorship charged with negotiating on cybersecurity while, in the Senate, a bipartisan pair has offered the International Cybercrime Reporting and Cooperation Act, with industry support, which would name cybercrime havens and suspend aid or halt trade with countries that don't cooperate.

The Republican sponsor of the new bill is Orrin Hatch of Utah, the Democratic sponsor Kristin Gillibrand of New York. Cisco, Microsoft, Facebook, and American Express all announced their support immediately. Visa and MasterCard are also on board.

Notable for its silence is Google, but watch this space.

While the aim of the proposal will draw wide praise there are problems with making naming, shaming and penalizing other countries automatic.

Start with the countries uniformly seen as havens for cybercrime -- Russia, Ukraine, China, Nigeria. Relations with all these countries are complex, and a diplomatic attack could easily be followed by a tit-for-tat that might escalate into a trade war or worse.

Besides there already is a cybersecurity act under consideration by the Senate, S. 773. The Commerce Committee could approve it as early as today, thanks in part to new support from the Internet Security Alliance, originally formed among various business trade groups and the CyLab at Carnegie-Mellon.

The Gillibrand-Hatch bill will go through the Foreign Relations Committee, The Hill reports.

If nothing else all this proves Congress is getting unstuck after the health care fight, and bipartisanship is not dead, just pining for the fjords.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com