The Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA) overwhelmingly passed with a vote of 74 to 21.
Tech companies were suspicious of the bill, but worries that hackers are continuously breaking into companies trumped fears that CISA would expand U.S. government spying on Americans.
CISA must now be merged with two similar bills that have already passed in the House of Representatives before it heads to President Obama's desk.
The idea behind CISA is to help U.S. companies react more quickly to cyberattacks on their computer systems. If a company gets hit with a specific type of hack, the federal government would receive an alert and immediately distribute warnings to other companies.
Every cyberattack is like a flu virus, and CISA is intended to be a lightning-fast distribution system for the flu vaccine. Opt in, and you get a government shot in minutes, not months.
Currently, industries maintain specialized, military-like "information sharing and analysis centers" to track cyberattacks and collectively develop defenses. Banking has its ISAC. The energy sector has its own too. But they don't team up.