WSJ: Time for government to give utilities a hand on cybersecurity

The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act from the House of Representatives may be fairer to utilities than the White House-backed alternative in the Senate, according to an editorial in the Wall Street Journal.

The Journal admits that the House bill -- under which companies voluntarily share information on cyber threats with the government -- is just a "first, small and worthy step."

But the Senate version "slaps on a raft of new regulations and limits the ability of federal agencies to protect the U.S. from attack." The Senate bill includes mandates requiring private companies, including utilities, to meet minimum security standards.

The government devotes tremendous resources to protect its systems from hackers, terrorists and states like China or Russia," the editorial states. "Banks, electrical utilities and other private companies fend for themselves, however, even though a successful attack could do enormous economic harm. Congress rightly thinks the government could lend a hand."