House Republicans on Thursday passed a bill requiring websites to comply with a security update to protect against vulnerabilities.ADVERTISEMENTThe bill, dubbed the Secure Web Standards Act, was crafted in response to the November attack on Sony that resulted in the compromise of data from hundreds of thousands of Sony employees.
It will also require all websites hosting sensitive information to install the PHP 7 upgrade and notify users if the software is outdated.
The bill would also prohibit websites from using the “sophisticated and sophisticated” features of the PHP 5.6 “standard” without updating their software to the latest version.
Critics of the bill said it could have unintended consequences, including making it harder for companies to detect malicious code and more difficult for cybersecurity companies to work with websites.
In a statement Thursday, Rep. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.), the bill’s lead sponsor, said the law would “keep a website from being a tool for cybercriminals or other hackers who wish to steal personal information from our nation.”
“It will ensure that cybersecurity is not a tool of criminals and that the information on our sites is secure and protected,” Langevin said.
“This bill will make it more difficult to exploit vulnerabilities in websites.”
Langevin said that the bill was approved in a 2-1 vote in the House.
Rep. Steve Israel (D) said in a statement that he and Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) “believe that every cybersecurity company should be required to update to the most secure version of PHP” and that it “will ensure that the security of our online sites remains the top priority.”
A spokesman for Rep. Louie Gohmert (R) said the bill would make it harder to prosecute hackers.
“The law doesn’t require companies to update their software, but rather it requires them to notify users,” said Matt Karp, a spokesman for Gohnert.
“It is unfortunate that the House failed to do so.
This is not about security, it’s about privacy and the First Amendment.
This should not be an issue for any company, and this is not an issue the House wants to be facing in the future.”
The bill has been called an effort by the House Intelligence Committee to “kill the Internet.”
It is unlikely to be signed by President Trump.
It is being pushed by House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R), a Republican, and other lawmakers.
The House approved the bill last week and has scheduled it for consideration this week.
A spokesman did not respond to a request for comment on the House’s plans.