WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Doris Matsui (D-CA), and Congressman Jim Langevin (D-RI) introduced a bill to enhance cybersecurity at K-12 schools by promoting access to information, better tracking cyberattacks nationally, and increasing the amount of cybersecurity experts in schools.
“The pandemic continues to necessitate virtual platforms for learning, and we must do everything in our power to secure the networks and infrastructure our students rely on,” said Congresswoman Matsui, a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and Vice Chair of the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology. “As children and their families adjust to a new learning environment, this bill will help ensure that we are protecting students from cyber threats that have been on the rise. The Enhancing K-12 Cybersecurity Act will provide needed resources for our schools, and prepare our cyberinfrastructure for the threats of tomorrow.”
“With millions of students and families relying on online connectivity for remote learning during this public health crisis, we must ensure cybersecurity is a top priority and that the networks schools are using are safe and secure,” said Rep. Langevin, Co-Founder and Co-Chair of the Congressional Cybersecurity Caucus, Chair of the House Armed Services Committee’s Subcommittee on Intelligence and Emerging Threats and Capabilities, and a Commissioner on the United States Cyberspace Solarium Commission. “I’m grateful for Congresswoman Matsui’s leadership in introducing the Enhancing K-12 Cybersecurity Act to promote improved coordination and access to information to bolster cybersecurity. This legislation will help promote cybersecurity, protect student privacy and prevent interruptions to distance learning.”
“Cyberattacks disrupt learning, waste taxpayers’ money, and threaten the sensitive personal data of students and teachers,” said Keith Krueger, CEO of the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN). “CoSN strongly supports the Enhancing K-12 Cybersecurity Act and commends Rep. Matsui and Rep. Langevin for stepping forward to protect our schools. Congress should act quickly to help communities address this growing threat.”
Cyberattacks targeting schools are increasing in frequency and severity. These attacks have threatened students’ privacy and caused harmful classroom disruptions. In June of this year, the FBI issued a Private Industry Notification warning that “cyber actors are likely to increase targeting of K-12 schools during the COVID-19 pandemic.” As schools continue to rely on distance-learning to engage students, additional resources are needed to enhance cybersecurity and protect personal information.
This bill makes important K-12 cybersecurity improvements:
Directs the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) Director to establish a Cybersecurity Clearinghouse to disseminate information, best practices, and grant opportunities to improve cybersecurity.
Establishes a Cybersecurity Registry within CISA to track incidents of cyberattacks on elementary and secondary schools. Information submitted to the Registry is strictly voluntary and will help improve data collection to coordinate activities related to the nationwide monitoring of the incidence and financial impact of cyberattacks.
K-12 Cybersecurity Human Capacity Grant Program
Authorizes new funding to create the K-12 Cybersecurity Human Capacity Grant Program within Office of Advanced Cyberinfrastructure at the National Science Foundation. Grant funding will be made available to address cybersecurity threats through expanded workforce capacity and improved network and cyberinfrastructure. The bill authorizes $400 million to fund the Grant Program.
The Enhancing K-12 Cybersecurity Act is supported by:
- Consortium for School Networking (CoSN)
- Schools, Health & Libraries Broadband (SHLB) Coalition
- National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP)
- National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP)
- National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO)
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