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The president advances his biggest ideas yet for federal digital defenses. AI experts talk about what AI can — and shouldn't — do for security. And House members are introducing a state and local grant bill. This is CyberScoop for May 13, 2021.

Biden’s big cyber order is finally here

Months in the making, an executive order President Biden signed Wednesday is one of the biggest executive-branch attempts to overhaul federal cybersecurity in years. The directive will force companies that do business with the government to build software that is less hackable, and will set up a government body to review major hacks along the lines of a National Transportation Safety Board, which investigates airline crashes. It’s a big deal, and there’s a lot to unpack. Sean Lyngaas and Tim Starks report.

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House members propose $500 million in state and local cyber grants

A bipartisan group of U.S. House members on Wednesday introduced legislation that would create a grant program for state and local cybersecurity operations, which they said is more needed than ever amid a rising tide of ransomware attacks against governments and schools nationwide. The State and Local Cybersecurity Improvement Act, a version of which passed the House during Congress’ last session but failed to advance in the Senate, would launch a $500 million annual grant program to be administered by the Department of Homeland Security. It would also give several new roles to DHS’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency for its relationships with state and local governments. StateScoop's Ben Freed is on it.

US commission urges action on AI research

Faster data breach notification time is emerging as a reliable application of artificial intelligence in the cybersecurity sector, a development that could help other industries better understand their own use of smarter technologies. Dr. Frederic Lemieux, faculty director and professor of the practice for applied intelligence at Georgetown University, said at AI Week that more efficient pattern recognition already is helping global companies spot anomalies in wide swaths of data. Unusual behaviors — such as an employee logging on to sensitive networks at odd hours, or an email attachment including nefarious data — are more likely to raise a red flag, pointing human analysts to possible security issues. Jeff Stone has the story.

AI could accelerate breach notification time, expert says

American technology companies racing to develop and adopt artificial intelligence technology should do so responsibly and safely, according to a longtime security expert who has spent years studying the issue. In a conversation on Thursday during AI Week, an event produced by Scoop News Group, Yll Bajraktari, the executive director of the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence, urged U.S. citizens to think carefully about the ethical use of powerful new technologies. Jeff has more.

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