Say What? What FireHost is doing on the Hill to influence future cyber security legislation

April 16, 2015
In The News

Dallas Business Journal - Apr 15, 2015, 11:41am CDT

FireHost is working with U.S. representatives from Texas on Capitol Hill as Congress aims to learn more about cyber security and possibly implement new legislation at some point.

“The (sharing of our) expertise is going to be an ongoing line of communication,” saidNeil Wu Becker, FireHost spokesman. “Ultimately, we’re trying to help out where we can.”

FireHost began communicating with U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security; U.S. Rep. Will Hurd, chairman of the House Subcommittee of Information Technology; and U.S. Rep. John Ratcliffe, chairman of the Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection and Security Technologies Subcommittee at the beginning of the year in anticipation of President Obama’s State of the Union Address.

“We actually believe we are one of the few security companies out there that has practitioners, experience and perspective to help Washington rationalize,” Wu Becker said about cyber security issues. “So we reached out to them and said look we can help.”

The president ended up outlining plans for new federal regulations that would require companies to reveal when they’ve been hacked and notify customers of the breach. He also discussed plans to push companies to share more information about the cyber attacks with the government.

These are all issues for which FireHost believes it can help provide insight. The company, which is among others voicing their expertise on the matter, expects to be involved in committee and subcommittee hearings that will cover what needs to be addressed by the government and what information should be shared and protected between the public and private sectors.

“One of the first things companies do after a breach is lawyer up because the more info they share, the more it opens it up to lawsuits,” said Jeff Schilling, FireHost chief security officer, adding that often time too much gets released. “At the end of the day, it’s about what is in that information that could be a potential danger to that company.”

Essentially, it’s about limiting liability; balancing the exchange information to help others and protecting the companies that share it, Schilling said.

Wu Becker said he believes the discussion around cyber security will only heat up in upcoming months, as presidential candidates ramp up their campaigns. If there’s one topic all parties can agree on, it’s the importance of cyber security, he said.