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Security

Congress OKs bill to force tech firms to reveal foreign probes into military software

The legislation is part of the Pentagon's spending bill.

The US Congress has approved a spending bill that includes legislation aimed at keeping military software safe from foreign hacking.

The bill, which was approved on Wednesday, requires tech companies to disclose if they allowed countries such as China and Russia to look closely at software sold to the US military, Reuters reports. Allowing foreign powers to examine the source code of software could aid them in attacking government systems, according to security experts.

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Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, a New Hampshire Democrat, drafted the bill.

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The legislation also creates a database of software that's been examined by foreign states considered to be a cyber security risk. The database will be searchable by other government agencies and available to public records requests.

"This disclosure mandate is the first of its kind, and is necessary to close a critical security gap in our federal acquisition process," Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, the New Hampshire Democrat who drafted the bill, told Reuters.

"The Department of Defense and other federal agencies must be aware of foreign source code exposure and other risky business practices that can make our national security systems vulnerable to adversaries."

President Donald Trump is expected to sign the bill.

The legislation was passed by Congress a little more than a month before executives from Facebook, Twitter and Google will face another round of questioning by lawmakers about Russian interference in US elections, at a hearing scheduled for Sept. 5.

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On Tuesday, Vice President Mike Pence placed the blame for US cybersecurity issues on former President Barack Obama, saying that the Trump administration "inherited a cyber crisis."

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