Security agency director urges governors to teach cybersecurity basics


Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, president of the Governors Association, has called the country’s lack of cybersecurity education a “national security issue.” Photo by Hannah Schoenbaum/Medill News Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 29 (UPI) — As the country’s governors consider how to spend funds from President Joe Biden’s bipartisan Infrastructure Act, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency is encouraging investments in cybersecurity education for Americans of all ages, including including officials and their staff.

“What we want to do is communicate about this in a way that people aren’t scared off by it,” CISA director Jen Easterly said Saturday at the CISA’s winter meeting. National Governors Association.

“What we need to do is really reclaim that territory and make cybersecurity and especially cyber hygiene a kitchen table issue.”

The bipartisan $1 Trillion Infrastructure Act, signed by the President in November, allocates $1 billion in grants to states to bolster their cyber defenses. As each state assesses its individual needs, cybersecurity experts encourage partnerships with the private sector and national improvements in cyber literacy.

“We are only as strong as the weakest link in the chain,” said Tennessee Governor Bill Lee, who chairs the Governors Association’s Pandemic and Disaster Response Task Force.

According to CISA, more than 99% of all cyberattacks could have been prevented with multi-factor authentication, a simple security measure that requires the user to present two or more forms of identification to gain access to their account.

The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the cybersecurity crisis facing everyday Americans, Easterly said, noting an increase in ransomware attacks on businesses and public transit systems.

“You had a global health crisis that in many ways became a cybersecurity crisis because you saw entrepreneurial cyber threat actors take advantage of the fact that so many people are now working from home in ostensibly less secure environments” , she said.

During Biden’s first year in office, hackers also targeted New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Massachusetts’ Steamship Authority ferry service and the Port of Houston.

CISA released a resource guide on Friday that outlines how state government officials can request federal support in response to future cyber threats.

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, president of the Governors Association, has called the country’s lack of cybersecurity education a “national security issue.” He said K-12 computer science education is needed in every school to equip the next generation of American cybersecurity professionals.

“Either we will fall behind in our technological development and innovation, or we will just acquire all the foreign talent,” Hutchinson told reporters. “And the third option, which I agree with, is to say, ‘We’re going to be the leaders in the United States of America in building talent for the digital age. “”

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