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The Department of Homeland Security had teased new cyber directives for railroads. Now, we know what to expect. A California city reconsiders cyber. This is CyberScoop for December 3, 2021.

Plans to improve rail security unveiled

U.S. rail companies must commit more attention and resources to cybersecurity under Transportation Security Administration directives announced Thursday. The new requirements include that surface rail owner and operators designate a cybersecurity coordinator; report a cybersecurity incident to the Department of Homeland Security's cybersecurity agency within 24 hours; complete a vulnerability assessment; and create a plan to respond to cybersecurity incidents. The directives will cover approximately 80 percent of freight rail and 90 percent of passenger rail, according to a DHS official. Tonya Riley has the latest.

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Where the plans come from...

DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas announced that TSA would be rolling out directives for surface transportation in an October speech at the Billington cybersecurity summit. Early plans for the directives, which would have required companies to report incidents within 12 hours, received criticism from industry and Republicans. In October, Republicans led by Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio called for DHS’s OIG to investigate the directives, citing industry complaints that the agency should “give adequate consideration to feedback from stakeholders and subject matter experts who work in these fields and that the requirements are too inflexible." A DHS official pushed back against the concerns in a call with reporters, noting that the requirements are baseline best cybersecurity practices many companies already follow. Read more.

Palo Alto pursues changes to cybersecurity strategy

Elected officials in Palo Alto, California, on Monday night voted to adopt the recommendations of an audit of the city’s cybersecurity and risk-management practices, particularly regarding its disaster recovery planning and database management. The vote by the Palo Alto City Council followed the Sept. 30 publication of the audit, which found that while the Silicon Valley community is capable of mitigating cybersecurity risks on a day-to-day basis, its Information Technology Department lacks both formalized risk management practices and a documented disaster recovery plan in the event of a major cyber incident such as a ransomware attack. Benjamin Freed has more at StateScoop.

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