Sens. Chris Coons, D-Delaware, and Cory Gardner, R-Colorado, introduced on Feb. 28 the Cyber Deterrence and Response Act, which establishes a framework to deter and respond to state-sponsored malicious cyber activity against the U.S.

The bipartisan bill also requires the administration to impose sanctions against entities and persons responsible or complicit in malicious cyber activities aimed against the U.S. This act is companion to legislation introduced in the House by Rep. Ted Yoho, R-Florida.

“Our bipartisan bill will help the administration impose real costs on malicious actors involved in state-sponsored cyberattacks,” said Coons. “This is extremely important as countries like Russia, China, Iran and North Korea increasingly use their cyber capabilities to threaten the security and prosperity of the U.S. and our allies.”

The Cyber Deterrence and Response Act establishes a framework to deter and respond to state-sponsored malicious cyber activity against the U.S.; requires the president to designate as a “critical cyber threat actor” each foreign person or each agency or instrumentality of a foreign state that the president determines to be responsible for or complicit in, or have engaged in, directly or indirectly, state-sponsored cyber activities that are reasonably likely to result in, or have contributed to, a significant threat to the national security, foreign policy or economic health or financial stability of the U.S.; mandates the imposition of sanctions from a menu of options against any “critical cyber threat actor”; provides an opportunity for the president to waive the imposition of sanctions; and calls on the administration to implement the cybersecurity provisions of the Asia Reassurance Initiative Act.