The Biden Administration has announced a number of actions and committed resources to strengthen the cybersecurity of the United States’s K-12 school systems.
Federal Communications Commission Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel has proposed establishing a pilot program under the Universal Service Fund to provide up to $200 million over three years to strengthen cyber defenses in K-12 schools and libraries in tandem with other federal agencies that have deep expertise in cybersecurity.
The U.S. Department of Education will establish a Government Coordinating Council (GCC) that will coordinate activities, policy, and communications between federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial education leaders to strengthen the cyber defenses and resilience of K-12 schools.
The U.S. Department of Education and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has committed to providing tailored assessments, facilitating exercises, and delivering cybersecurity training for 300 new K-12 entities over the coming school year.
Additionally, several education technology providers, including Amazon Web Services, Cloudflare, PowerSchool, Google and D2L have committed to provide free and low-cost resources to school districts.
Monday, Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona and Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas joined First Lady Jill Biden, to convene school administrators, educators and private sector companies to discuss best practices and new resources available to strengthen the U.S. schools’ cybersecurity.
The United States has experienced an increase in cyberattacks that have targeted the nation’s schools in recent years. In the 2022-23 academic year alone, at least eight K-12 school districts throughout the country were impacted by significant cyberattacks – four of which left schools having to cancel classes or close completely.
According to a 2022 U.S. Government Accountability Office report, the loss of learning following a cyberattack ranged from three days to three weeks, and recovery time can take anywhere from two to nine months. Further, the monetary losses to school districts following a cyber incident is sestimated to cost up to $1 million.
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