K-12 Cybersecurity Act Introduced to Protect Schools from Ransomware

  • Against the background of ransomware attacks hitting schools frequently, Senators have introduced the K-12 Cybersecurity Act.
  • This Act comprises of guidelines that can help establish guidelines to protect schools from ransomware attacks.

Sens. Gary Peters, D-Michigan, and Rick Scott, R-Florida., who are members of Senate Homeland Security as well as Governmental Affairs Committee are responsible for introducing this legislation.

The backdrop

Schools are becoming popular targets for ransomware attacks. In fact, more than 1,000 educational institutions fell victim to ransomware infections in the first nine months of 2019, according to Emsisoft.

Payroll information, details of staff and students including medical records were at risk because of these infections.

How will the K-12 Cybersecurity Act help?

This Act requires the DHS's Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) to study the cybersecurity risks associated with the K-12 educational institutions.

  • The CISA must then develop an online toolkit and recommendations that would aid schools in preventing ransomware attacks.
  • Although it doesn’t provide funding, the Act would provide a framework for schools to follow.

What they’re saying

“Schools across the country are entrusted with safeguarding the personal data of their students and faculty, but lack many of the resources and information needed to adequately defend themselves against sophisticated cyber-attacks,” said Senator Gary Peters in a statement.

“The safety of our schools is always my top priority, and that includes protecting the information of our students and teachers. I’m proud to sponsor the K-12 Cybersecurity Act of 2019 to further protect our schools, students, and educators, and give them the resources they need to stay safe,” said Senator Rick Scott.

Several statements in support of the Senators’ legislation are said to have been issued by various experts.