August 23, 2021

Senator Hassan Statement on the Targeting of Peterborough by Cybercriminals

Senator Has Led Efforts in Congress to Strengthen Cybersecurity Support for State and Local Governments

NEW HAMPSHIRE – Following the news of cybercriminals targeting the Town of Peterborough, Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH), chair of the Emerging Threats and Spending Oversight Subcommittee, issued the following statement. Earlier this afternoon, Senator Hassan led a roundtable with New Hampshire state and local officials about the importance of investing in state and local cybersecurity and the grant program that she included in the bipartisan infrastructure package that the Senate recently passed.

"This is a devastating attack, and my office stands ready to support Peterborough as it works to find the perpetrators of this attack. We also know that what happened in Peterborough will happen again, and we must do everything we can to give our communities the tools that they need to defend against cybercriminals in order to protect their online systems – and in turn, taxpayer dollars,” said Senator Hassan. “Just this afternoon, I held a roundtable that included New Hampshire communities that have been victimized by cyberattacks to discuss why it’s so important that we pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill, which includes a provision that I authored to get direct funding to state and local governments to strengthen their cyber defenses. We know that cybercriminals are smart, savvy, and able to identify and attack our weak spots – and we must make sure that our state and local governments are ready.”

Senator Hassan’s bill, The State and Local Cybersecurity Improvement Act, creates a state and local cybersecurity grant program and recently passed the Senate as part of the bipartisan infrastructure package. The bill authorizes a new grant program at the Department of Homeland Security dedicated to improving cybersecurity for state, local, tribal, and territorial entities. If signed into the law, the legislation would provide $1 billion over 4 years nationally, and at least $10 million to New Hampshire. It would be administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), to take advantage of existing grant systems and expertise, while the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) would provide cybersecurity subject matter expertise. Senator Hassan has prioritized strengthening cybersecurity for state and local governments since coming to the Senate, and recently led a subcommittee hearing on the importance of a dedicated state and local cybersecurity grant program.