Senator Hassan Pushed to Ensure that the Program Was Included in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Package that Passed the Senate
WASHINGTON – In case you missed it, the Washington Post highlighted the importance of Senator Maggie Hassan’s state and local cyber grants program, which recently passed the Senate as part of the bipartisan infrastructure package. The State and Local Cybersecurity Improvement Act authorizes a new grant program at the Department of Homeland Security dedicated to improving cybersecurity for state, local, tribal, and territorial entities.
Click here or see below for excerpts from the Washington Post:
By Joseph Marks
The mammoth bipartisan infrastructure deal that passed the Senate this week includes a $1 billion pot of cybersecurity money to help state and local governments battered by ransomware and other digital attacks.
If the bill becomes law, it would be especially helpful for local governments, which are often a weak link in cybersecurity.
They struggle with cyber protections that are years out of date, leaving them vulnerable to hacks that can impact everything from 911 services to the ability to produce marriage licenses.
While cyberattacks that impact federal government agencies and major corporations draw far more public attention, local government hacks can have the most direct impact on citizens.
“When a police department has a dispatch system that’s hit with ransomware, that directly affects public safety,” Denis Goulet, New Hampshire’s chief information officer and president of the National Association of Chief Information Officers (NASCIO), told me. “Having those systems functioning is not a ‘nice to have.’ It’s a ‘must have.’ It’s a real existential threat to citizens.”
[…] The Senate bill would deliver the cyber money in grants spread out over four years.
At least 80 percent of it would have to go to local government and 25 percent of it to rural areas, according to a fact sheet from the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.).
[…] “A cyberattack on a state or local government network can put schools, electrical grids and crucial services in jeopardy,” Hassan said. “Even though cyberattacks are becoming more and more common in today’s threat landscape, state and local governments often do not have the adequate resources to defend against them.” […]