President Biden, on June 21, signed into law legislation that ensures Federal cybersecurity experts assist state and local governments (SLG) to protect their networks against the growing number of cyberattacks across the United States.

Cities across the country have increasingly become targets of cyberattacks, putting at risk the private information of citizens and costing taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars. Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle believe that SLG entities lack the adequate tools to safeguard their systems – including proper cyber hygiene protocols – and Federal cyber experts must step in and help.

The SLG Cybersecurity Act of 2021 promotes increased cybersecurity collaboration between the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and state, local, tribal, and territorial governments on cybersecurity issues.

The measure also requires the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center to share vital security tools and protocols with state, local, tribal, and territorial governments, including:

  • conduct exercises with state, local, tribal, or territorial government entities;
  • provide operational and technical cybersecurity training to such entities; and
  • promote cybersecurity education and awareness.

“State and local governments in Michigan and across the nation continue to be targeted by cybercriminals and other malicious actors. These attacks can prevent access to essential services, compromise sensitive and personal information, and disrupt our daily lives and livelihoods,” Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich., who co-sponsored the bill alongside Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, said in a statement.

“This commonsense legislation [strengthens] coordination between all levels of government and gives local officials in Michigan and across the country additional tools and resources to combat cyberattacks,” he added.

The bill is part of the ongoing effort by lawmakers and the Biden-Harris administration to bolster cybersecurity and minimize cyber threats across the United States.

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Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez is a MeriTalk State and Local Staff Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.