House Members Join Together to Help State, Local Governments Secure Networks

February 11, 2020 by Dan McCue
Rep. John Katko, R-N.Y. (Photo by Dan McCue)

WASHINGTON – Seven House members have come together in a bipartisan effort to help state and local governments address cybersecurity weaknesses in their networks.

The lawmakers engaged in the effort are Reps. Cedric Richmond, D-La., John Katko, R-N.Y., Derek Kilmer, D-Wash., Michael McCaul, R-Texas, Dutch Ruppersberger, D-Md., Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., and Mike Rogers, R-Ala.

They note that in recent years, state and local governments have been particularly rich targets for America’s cyber adversaries and the frequency of these attacks is accelerating. 

In 2019 alone, the representatives say, ransomware attacks crippled state and local agencies in Louisiana, the City of Baltimore, 22 towns in Texas, a school district in Syracuse, and many other communities scattered across the country.

In response, they’ve introduced the State and Local Cybersecurity Improvement Act.

The Act:

·       Establishes a $400 million Department of Homeland Security grant program that incentivizes states to increase their own cybersecurity funding;

·       Requires DHS’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) develop a strategy to improve the cybersecurity of state, local, tribal, and territorial governments;

·       Requires state, local, tribal, and territorial governments develop comprehensive Cybersecurity Plans to guide use of grant dollars;

·       Establishes a State and Local Cybersecurity Resiliency Committee so state, local, tribal, and territorial governments can advise CISA on their cybersecurity needs.

“The State and Local Cybersecurity Improvement Act is a critically important piece of legislation that provides state and local governments the tools they need to significantly invest in their cybersecurity infrastructure,” said Rep. Richmond, chairman of the Homeland Security Committee’s Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection & Innovation Subcommittee.

“Louisiana has long been vulnerable to cyber attacks, and this bill offers the resources needed to ensure protection against potential threats. I’m proud to introduce this comprehensive measure to give Louisiana and other states across the country the proper framework they need to implement vital cybersecurity plans,” he said.

Rep, Katko, the ranking member on the subcommittee, said cyber attacks in central New York and the Syracuse School District, illustrate how the continued use of ransomware by bad actors is “leaving municipalities vulnerable and facing massive costs.”

“That’s why I am proud to join members on both sides of the aisle in introducing bipartisan legislation to provide state and local officials with the necessary funds and guidance to allow them to be prepared for, respond to, and recover from cyberattacks,” he said.

“With cyber security threats on the rise, the federal government should be devoting more attention and resources to combating cyber threats,” Rep. Kilmer agreed. “Cyber attacks could threaten our election systems, municipally-owned water treatment facilities, local emergency responder networks, or other vital government systems that impact our communities.”

The bill is scheduled to be marked up by the Committee on Homeland Security on Wednesday.

The panel’s chairman, Rep. Thompson, said, “For too long, our state and local governments have had to fend for themselves as foreign adversaries and cyber criminals have targeted their networks.”

“Making smart investments in cybersecurity at the state and local level is not only fiscally responsible, it is a national security imperative,” he said.

Link to Bill Text.

Link to Bill Fact Sheet.

In The News

Health

Voting

Cybersecurity

Defense Supply Chain Management Systems Are Vulnerable, GAO Says
Defense
Defense Supply Chain Management Systems Are Vulnerable, GAO Says
June 24, 2021
by Reece Nations

WASHINGTON — The Government Accountability Office issued a report this week addressing cybersecurity vulnerabilities in the Department of Defense inventory management systems used to manage the national defense supply chain. Risks in six inventory management systems run by the Defense Logistics Agency were reviewed in the... Read More

Ransomware Gangs Get Paid Off as Officials Struggle for Fix
Cybercrime
Ransomware Gangs Get Paid Off as Officials Struggle for Fix

BOSTON (AP) — If your business falls victim to ransomware and you want simple advice on whether to pay the criminals, don't expect much help from the U.S. government. The answer is apt to be: It depends. "It is the position of the U.S. government that... Read More

Senators Try to Get Tough On Rise in Cybercrime
Cybersecurity
Senators Try to Get Tough On Rise in Cybercrime
June 17, 2021
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON -- A group of U.S. senators responded Thursday to recent ransomware attacks by introducing legislation to impose new tactics and harsh penalties on cyberattackers. They pinned much of the blame on Russia, despite denials a day earlier by Russian President Vladimir Putin. “The Russians do... Read More

Warner Contemplates Mandatory Cyberattack Reporting Bill
Cybersecurity
Warner Contemplates Mandatory Cyberattack Reporting Bill
June 16, 2021
by Kate Michael

WASHINGTON — The rise in profit-driven cyberattacks has prompted Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Mark Warner, D-Va., to contemplate a mandatory reporting bill so law enforcement can promptly take action on urgent threats. Warner told Axios recently that he anticipates broad support for such upcoming... Read More

White House, Congress Aligned on Cybersecurity Goals
Cybersecurity
White House, Congress Aligned on Cybersecurity Goals
June 16, 2021
by Victoria Turner

WASHINGTON - As Congress edges closer to putting a final infrastructure bill on President Joe Biden’s desk, it looks like lawmakers and the White House are aligned in their commitment to bolster U.S. cybersecurity through increased federal investment, focusing on prevention and utilizing public-private partnerships to... Read More

Kakto Presses Administration to Take Cybersecurity More Seriously
Think Tanks
Kakto Presses Administration to Take Cybersecurity More Seriously
June 11, 2021
by Victoria Turner

Rep. John Katko, R-N.Y. recently went into a couple of Lincoln car dealerships in Syracuse, New York, but “neither one of them had any cars.”  “And they’re not going to have any cars for several weeks because of the chip shortage,” Katko said during a "fireside... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top