MAKE YOUR OPINIONS HEARD: AN FCC PLAN TO PREVENT SCHOOL AND LIBRARY CYBERATTACKS
With many Americans turning to schools and libraries for internet access, the security of those computers is of paramount importance. In fact according to an article in StateScoop by Caroline Nihill, “The Government Accountability Office last year issued a report showing that more than 600,000 K-12 students were affected by ransomware attacks in 2021. The office urged federal agencies to help schools defend themselves against cyberattacks. Attacks cited in the report included phishing, ransomware, distributed denial-of-service and video-conferencing disruptions.”
To try to stem the tide of cyberattacks on these institutions, the Federal Communications Commission is now deliberating a proposal to pilot a $200 million program to help collect the kind of information necessary to ultimately help shield schools and libraries from the bad guys in cyberspace.
There are only a few more weeks left to send a comment letter to the FCC about its plans, which are due by the end of January. You can do so through this link.
Some background, according to a mid-November FCC release, “The Federal Communications Commission today proposed the creation of a Schools and Libraries Cybersecurity Pilot Program that would allow the Commission to obtain valuable data concerning the cybersecurity and advanced firewall services that would best help K-12 schools and libraries address the growing cyber threats and attacks against their broadband networks. The effort is part of Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel’s Learn Without Limits initiative to ensure connectivity in schools and libraries so everyone, everywhere has access to high-speed Internet services.”
The release quoted Rosenworcel as saying that the pilot program would be “an important pathway for hardening our defenses against sophisticated cyberattacks on schools and ransomware attacks that harm our students and get in the way of their learning.”
As Rosenworcel further explained, “we want to learn from this effort, identify how to get the balance right, and provide our federal, state, and local government partners with actionable data about the most effective and coordinated way to address this growing problem.”
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