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White House proposes national standards for cybersecurity

Experts say Congress urgently needs to pass cybersecurity standards to protect government, businesses, and critical infrastructure in the US from cyberattack. The White house tried to accelerate this process with its proposal Thursday.

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Facing a growing flood of computer-based threats to the nation, the Obama administration on Thursday unveiled new proposals intended to press Congress to pass new cybersecurity laws.

There's little question that Congress needs leadership on the issue. With 50 cyber-related bills in the last session of Congress, Senate majority leader Harry Reid (D) of Nevada and a half dozen Senate committees wrote the president, asking for his take on cybersecurity legislation.

Response to the plan has been mixed, with one cybersecurity veteran dismissing it as showing "no urgency," while another argued that it was a step in the right direction. What no one disputes is the need for prompt congressional action.

"I'm relieved that they have finally come up with a position, since there's now a much better chance we'll see movement in Congress," says Michael Assante, former chief security officer for the North American Electric Reliability Corporation. "I've been disappointed we've been holding our breath so long on what standards will emerge. We've definitely suffered damage – and the longer we wait the more trouble we're in."

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