Legislation will create a public awareness campaign for cybersecurity best practices

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and John Thune (R-SD) announced that their bipartisan legislation to develop a public awareness campaign focused on cybersecurity best practices has passed the Senate Commerce Committee.

“Ransomware attacks are on the rise, putting Americans’ data and privacy at risk. Too often people do not know about steps they can take to protect themselves online,” said Klobuchar. “This bipartisan legislation will create a campaign to spread awareness of cybersecurity best practices. Now that it has passed the Commerce Committee, I look forward to it passing the full Senate and being signed into law.”

“Cybersecurity attacks continue to affect consumers and businesses across the United States,” said Thune. “This important bipartisan legislation would help increase awareness on how to mitigate cyber threats, and I look forward to working with Senator Klobuchar to advance it through the full Senate.”

The American Cybersecurity Literacy Act instructs the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to work with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to develop a public cybersecurity best practices campaign to reduce cyber risk. The campaign would include:

  • Details about information technology infrastructure that may create cybersecurity risks;
  • Information on how to prevent and reduce cyber attacks and risks caused by using publicly available Wi-Fi networks; and
  • Directions for how to access federal resources to help mitigate cybersecurity risks.

In 2019, Klobuchar and Thune introduced the bipartisan Cyber Security Exchange Act to establish a public-private cyber security professionals exchange program to recruit experts to do limited tours of duty in the federal government. Additionally, agencies would create a program for government computer experts to do tours of duty in the private sector to learn best practices, which they can apply to help further secure government computer systems and critical infrastructure.

Alongside Senators Gary Peters (D-MI), Ron Johnson (R-WI), and James Lankford (R-OK), Klobuchar also introduced a bipartisan bill to strengthen local government cybersecurity defenses by switching to the .gov domain for websites and email addresses.

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