Senate passes cyber-security bill expanding protection for companies sharing threat data with feds
A lock icon, signifying an encrypted Internet connection, is seen on an Internet Explorer browser in a photo illustration in Paris on April 15, 2014. Photo by Mal Langsdon for Reuters.

A majority of the U.S. Senate easily passed legislation on Tuesday aimed at bolstering the country’s cyber defenses, advancing the first serious attempt in Congress to combat crippling computer hacks that have felled a growing number of businesses and government agencies in recent years.

The bill, which would expand liability protections to companies that choose to voluntarily share cyber-threat data with the government, must be reconciled with two similar information-sharing measures that passed the House of Representatives earlier this year.

The White House announced support last week for the Senate bill, although it stated a desire for some revisions before it lands on President Barack Obama’s desk.

(Reporting by Dustin Volz; Editing by Peter Cooney)