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Friday, December 8th, 2023

Bills to strengthen cybersecurity advance in Senate

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The U.S. Senate advanced this week legislation authored by U.S. Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI) designed to protect public and private networks from cyber threats.

Peters’ two pieces of legislation – The K-12 Cybersecurity Act and the Supply Chain Security Training Act – passed unanimously in the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, where Peters serves as chair. The bills would enhance cybersecurity guidance for schools across the country and secure federal information technology supply chains against cyber threats.

“Rising cyber-attacks on everything from a major oil pipeline and hundreds of small businesses – to our federal agencies and even K-12 schools – show that we need a comprehensive, all of government approach to fight back against foreign adversaries and cybercriminals who persist in their attempts to infiltrate and wreak havoc on American networks,” Peters said. “These bipartisan bills will help protect our schools and supply chains in Michigan and across the nation from hackers who seek to exploit the weakest links to steal information and hold institutions hostage. I’ll continue to fight for their swift passage into law and work to continue strengthening our nation’s cyber defenses.”

The K-12 Cybersecurity Act would direct the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) to work with educators, school administrators, and others to complete a cybersecurity risk assessment for K-12 educational institutions. Once completed, CISA would be directed to develop cybersecurity recommendations and an online toolkit for educators to secure the sensitive records stored on behalf of students and employees.

The Supply Chain Security Training Act would direct the General Services Administration to coordinate with the Department of Homeland Security, Department of Defense, and Office of Management and Budget to create standardized training for federal employees responsible for purchasing services and equipment that would help them identify threats to the federal government’s information security.