WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) and Gary Peters (D-MI) introduced bipartisan legislation to increase the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) outreach to communities on how they can protect themselves from disruptive cyber-attacks. The bill would direct Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) to provide regular guidance and resources to the public and private sectors on best practices related to cybersecurity – such as enabling multifactor authentication and utilizing unique, strong passwords for each account. The legislation would also ensure that CISA increases its outreach to the most frequent targets of ransomware – including small businesses – as well as underserved communities that often lack access to a cybersecurity education.
“Americans should always use the best cybersecurity practices to protect themselves and their families from cyber threats,” said Dr. Cassidy. “This bill ensures Americans have access to the educational tools they need to stay safe.”
“Defending against persistent and evolving cyber-security threats will take an all hands on deck effort,” said Senator Peters. “This bipartisan legislation will help ensure that everyone is playing their part in preventing network breaches that can compromise personal and sensitive information and disrupt national and economic security.”
Since 2004, the President and Congress have declared October as Cybersecurity Awareness Month, during which the government and industry lead a collaborative effort to raise cybersecurity awareness nationally as threats to technology and confidential data become more frequent. As cyber-attacks continue to rise, the senators’ legislation would direct CISA to promote cybersecurity awareness in a sustained and consistent manner all year round.
The Cybersecurity Awareness Act would direct CISA to develop a campaign that informs the public about best practices on how to prevent cyber-attacks and mitigate cybersecurity risks. The bill would require CISA to also consult with private sector entities, state, local, Tribal, and territorial (SLTT) governments, nonprofits, and universities to promote cybersecurity awareness, including on how to effectively communicate awareness. The legislation would also require CISA to coordinate with other federal agencies and departments to ensure the federal government is communicating accurate and timely information. Finally, the bill would require CISA to ensure campaign resources are publicly available online and regularly updated.