October 18, 2019

With Growing Ransomware Threats in New Hampshire & Across the Country, Senator Hassan Calls for Analysis of Federal Efforts to Protect Local & State Governments from Cyberattacks

WASHINGTON – With increasingly frequent ransomware attacks on state and local governments, Senator Maggie Hassan is calling on the U.S. Government Accountability Office to review how the federal government is assisting state and local governments in bolstering their cybersecurity.  

“As New Hampshire saw firsthand earlier this year in Strafford County, cyberattacks pose a real and growing threat. If successfully executed, cyberattacks can have far-reaching consequences from exposing personal information to shutting down nursing home systems to causing widespread power outages,” said Senator Hassan. “The federal government must do more to help state and local governments prevent and respond to cyberattacks, and this report will give us a key tool to identify how the federal government is doing in this task, and what more can be done.”

Senator Hassan requested that the Government Accountability Office review and issue a report describing “federal efforts to assist state and local government entities in protecting their networks and systems from the threat of ransomware and in responding to ransomware incidents. This review should also evaluate whether federal agencies involved in these efforts are effectively coordinating with each other.”

As a member of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, Senator Hassan is focused on enhancing cybersecurity at local, state, and federal levels. Last month, the U.S. Senate passed Senator Hassan’s bipartisan bill to require that the Department of Homeland Security make permanent “cyber hunt” and “cyber incident response” teams to work to help prevent cyberattacks at all levels of government and the private sector, and help mitigate the impact of such attacks when they occur. Senator Hassan this summer joined in introducing the bipartisan Advancing Cybersecurity Continuing Diagnostics and Mitigation Act, which would update and improve federal agencies’ cybersecurity, and make additional cyber defense resources available to Strafford County and other state and local governments. Last year, the President signed two bipartisan bills from Senators Hassan and Rob Portman (R-OH) to help strengthen cyber defenses at the Department of Homeland Security.

Read Senator Hassan’s letter to the Government Accountability Office here.

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