WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar today announced that her amendments to help strengthen cybersecurity passed the Senate Commerce Committee as part of the bipartisan Cybersecurity Act of 2013. One amendment adds institutions of higher education to the National Cybersecurity Awareness and Preparedness Campaign. Cyber threats against institutions of higher learning are becoming increasingly common. According to the Star Tribune, the University of Minnesota spends $2 million annually to defend its network, which faces tens of thousands of attempted attacks every day.

Klobuchar’s second amendment, which she introduced with Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO), requiresa Government Accountability Office (GAO) study to assess the progress and efficacy of National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) programs that help develop standards and best practices to fight cyber attacks. The study will also ensure that the NIST process is voluntary for private sector participants. Klobuchar is a member of the Senate Commerce Committee.

“As cyber threats become more sophisticated, we must do more to protect our citizens,” said Klobuchar. “From our most advanced national defense and infrastructure systems, to our campus networks, to household computers and personal electronic devices, we need to make sure we’re doing everything we can to detect and ward off cyber attacks.”

The Cybersecurity Act of 2013aims to help secure the nation from cyber threats by providing NIST, a non-regulatory agency within the Department of Commerce, with the statutory authority to facilitate and support the development of a set of voluntary, industry-led standards and best practices to reduce cyber risks to critical infrastructure. The bill will also ensure that the federal government supports cutting edge research, increases public awareness, and improves our workforce to better address cyber threats.