Rep. John Katko, R-N.Y., introduced the State and Local Government Cybersecurity Improvement Act on Aug. 30 to help state and local governments combat cyberattacks. The legislation comes in the wake of increasing ransomware attacks targeting state and local governments, including Katko’s own state.

The bill would direct the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) to draft a resource guide to help state and local officials prepare for, mitigate, respond to, and recover from cyberattacks.

The legislation would also form two new grant programs to aid state and local governments in bolstering their cybersecurity capabilities. The first is a one-time grant program that state and local governments can use to identify their networks’ high-value assets and critical system architecture – a key step to protecting networks. The second program would help state and local governments defer costs of conducting cybersecurity exercises.

Katko, who serves as the House Homeland Security Committee Cybersecurity Subcommittee ranking member, introduced the legislation after seeing a series of ransomware attacks across a variety of state and local governments across the country, including in local government networks within Katko’s district earlier this summer.

“Ransomware attacks on state and local governments continue to increase nationwide, leaving municipalities vulnerable and facing massive costs,” Katko said at a Sept. 2 cybersecurity roundtable discussion in Syracuse with DHS officials, according to the Finger Lakes Daily News. “Many cities have outdated information technology, limited budgets, and lack of cybersecurity training which can make it easier for hackers to infiltrate networks.”

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