Washington, D.C. – Congressman Andy Barr (KY-06) introduced H.R. 7998, the NIST COVID-19 Cyber-Security Act. Barr’s legislation instructs the Director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to produce standards for mitigating and protecting against cyber-attacks to American universities researching COVID-19.
“Congress must act to safeguard critical scientific Coronavirus research being conducted at universities nationwide," said Congressman Barr. “My bill would have the Director of NIST put forth guidance to preserve COVID-19 research and greatly reduce the threat of cyber-attacks. This includes providing best practices and guidelines that will protect our national security.”
“We’ve seen disturbing evidence of state-sponsored cyberattacks from the Chinese Communist Party directed at universities and organizations conducting vital research on combatting COVID-19,” said Congressman Frank Lucas (R-OK), who serves as the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology. “This compromises our research efforts and delays our ability to identify vaccines and treatments. NIST’s Cybersecurity Framework is the gold standard for cyber protection, and tailoring these guidelines for academia and research institutions will keep our data safe from theft and manipulation by foreign actors. It’s a simple but strong way to protect American research and support the fight against COVID-19. I’m proud to join Congressman Barr on this important work.”
This proposal comes on the heels of indictments of two Chinese hackers by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) for attempted hacks of American companies developing COVID-19 vaccines, testing technology, and treatments. Congressman Barr has been heavily involved in crafting legislation to counter the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) aggression and hold the CCP accountable in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic that originated in Wuhan, China. Barr was appointed to the China Task Force in May by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (CA-23). Barr is currently co-Chairing the Task Force subgroup on Economics and Energy as well as the subgroup on Competitiveness. The Task Force is expected to issue its full recommendations in October of 2020.