This is the twenty-ninth in a series of Covington blogs on implementation of Executive Order 14028, “Improving the Nation’s Cybersecurity,” issued by President Biden on May 12, 2021 (the “Cyber EO”). The first blog summarized the Cyber EO’s key provisions and timelines, and the subsequent blogs described the actions taken by various government agencies to implement the Cyber EO from June 2021 through August 2023. This blog describes key actions taken to implement the Cyber EO, as well as the U.S. National Cybersecurity Strategy, during September 2023.
DHS Releases Report on Harmonization of Cyber Incident Reporting
On September 19, 2023, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) released a report identifying duplicative federal cybersecurity incident reporting requirements, proposing a model definition for reportable cybersecurity incidents, and recommending how the Federal government should assess how best to streamline cybersecurity incident reports. In addition, “the report also summarizes actions that the [U.S.] Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (“CISA”) will take to facilitate harmonization of cyber incident reporting as it implements the [Cyber Incident Reporting for Critical Infrastructure Act of 2022] as well as proposals that Congress may consider for legislative changes.” In particular, the report notes that CISA “will continue to engage in three lines of efforts to facilitate harmonization of duplicative reporting requirements[,] including:
- Participating in the Cyber Incident Reporting Council (“CIRC”) which is “to coordinate, deconflict, and harmonize Federal incident reporting requirements, including those issued through regulation[;]”
- Performing “extensive outreach with Federal and non-Federal entities to inform the forthcoming CIRCIA” Notice of Proposed Rulemaking; and
- Exploring “opportunities with Federal entities to minimize the burden on entities who report substantially similar information as part of an existing requirement, where feasible.”
Some of the report’s recommendations to streamline and harmonize cybersecurity incident reporting include:
- Adopting a model definition of a reportable cyber incident;
- Adopting model cyber incident reporting timelines and triggers;
- Instructing agencies to “consider whether a delay is warranted [in notification] when such notifications pose a significant risk to critical infrastructure, national security, public safety, or an ongoing law enforcement investigation;”
- Adopting a model reporting form;
- Assessing how best to streamline the receipt and sharing of reports and incident information;
- Providing for updates and supplemental reports in incident reporting requirements;
- Adopting common terminology; and
- Improving processes for engaging with reporting entities following cyber incident reports.
CISA Announces Open Source Software Security Roadmap
On September 12, 2023, CISA published the Open Source Software Security Roadmap that “articulates how the agency will enable the secure usage of open source software within the federal government and support a healthy, secure, and sustainable global open source software ecosystem.” In particular, the Roadmap centers on four primary goals:
- Establishing “CISA’s role in supporting the security of” Open Source Software (“OSS”);
- Understanding “the prevalence of key open source dependencies;”
- Reducing “risks to the federal government;” and
- Hardening “the broader OSS ecosystem.”
Within each of these goals, the Roadmap identifies specific objectives for CISA to achieve. For example, the Roadmap notes that CISA will aim to “develop open source program office guidance for federal agencies” and to continue to advance software bills of material (“SBOMs”) within OSS supply chains.
CISA Releases Hardware Bill of Materials Framework (“HBOM”) for Supply Chain Risk Management
On September 25, 2023, CISA released its HBOM Framework for Supply Chain Risk Management, which offers “a consistent and repeatable way for vendors and purchasers to communicate about hardware components, enabling effective risk assessment and mitigation in the supply chain.” Specifically, CISA notes that “[t]he HBOM product provides a framework that includes a consistent naming methodology for attributes of components, a format for identifying and providing information about the different types of components, and guidance of what HBOM information is appropriate depending on the purpose for which the HBOM will be used.” The Framework is divided into three main components, which are listed as appendices:
- HBOM Use Cases – “[p]rovides a range of potential use cases that purchasers may have for HBOMs, based on the nature of the risk the purchaser seeks to evaluate[;]”
- Format of HBOMs – “sets forth a format that can be used to ensure consistency across HBOMs and to increase the ease with which HBOMs can be produced and used[;]”
- HBOM Taxonomy – “[p]rovides a taxonomy of component/input attributes that, depending on the use for which the purchaser intends to use an HBOM, may be appropriate to include in an HBOM.”
CISA’s HBOM Framework exists alongside its efforts to promote bills of materials (“BOMs”) in other areas, particularly SBOMs. As noted in the National Cybersecurity Strategy Implementation Plan, CISA will work with key stakeholders to identify and reduce gaps in SBOMs.