K-12 Cybersecurity Bill Signed Into Law

Updated: Oct 15

Cybersecurity Awareness Month continues to influence the latest legislation being pushed forward by the Biden Administration. The K-12 Cybersecurity Act was signed into Law by President Biden last week as cybersecurity attacks against schools have spiked during the COVID-19 pandemic. Schools have become an even bigger target of cyber threats during the pandemic, due to the reliance on remote learning for a bulk of the pandemic. Some of the attacks caused schools to cancel classes while the issues were resolved, further complicating providing an education to children that have been kept home. In fact, in 2020 a record number of attacks were levied against schools in the past year, averaging two per day. 1,681 schools, colleges, and universities that were subject to ransomware attacks. In August of 2020, the employee social security numbers as well as names, addresses, and grades of students were published by a malicious cyber actor that unleashed a ransomware attack on a school district in Clark County.

The legislators of the bill, one passed with rare bipartisan support, cited recent devastating cybersecurity attacks such as the one against the Colonial Pipeline this year as well as Solarwinds. The bill comes after other recent pushes to enhance cybersecurity of our nation’s infrastructure and it is likely that more bills are in the pipeline, particularly around the country’s electric grid and other key infrastructure. The bill requires the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security agency (CISA) to conduct a study on the specific cybersecurity risks facing K-12 educational institutions no later than 120 days after the passage of the bill. The recommendations must be published no later than 60 days after the completion of the study for the school districts to evaluate. The recommendations provided by CISA will be completely voluntary for schools to implement.

For further information please see: https://thehill.com/policy/cybersecurity/575957-biden-signs-bill-into-law-to-strengthen-k-12-school-cybersecurity

The full text of the legislation can be found at: https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/senate-bill/1917/all-info

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