Senator Chuck Schumer yesterday (September 18) announced a new plan aimed at preventing hackers from accessing the personal information of students through cyber-attacks on New York schools.
His push for action comes just weeks after a breach involving Pearson education software leaked the personal data of up to 7K students in six area districts, including Homer and Cortland. More on that at this link.
While information in the local hack involved only included student names, birth dates and ID numbers, similar attacks in recent months across the state have been more severe.
According to Schumer, some districts had student social security numbers jeopardized and others even had to cancel days of class while they could resolve system issues.
The senator’s now proposing a two-pronged solution, asking both Congress and the FBI to step in and take action.
First, Schumer is calling on Congress to expediently consider and pass the DHS Cyber Hunt and Incident Response Teams Act, which would authorize the Dept. of Homeland Security to operate cyber hunt and incident response teams that help protect state and local entities from cyber threats.
The bill would also help restore the functionality of private or public infrastructure following an attack.
A similar version has already passed through the House of Representatives.
Second, Schumer is urging the FBI to ensure its field offices have the resources necessary to investigate and identify the perpetrators of the attacks in New York.
He also demanded a briefing from the Bureau on how to better prevent future attacks.
“Over the last few years, and especially in recent months, our communities and school districts throughout Upstate New York have fallen victim to hackers and their malicious ransomware, which infiltrates computer systems and holds hostage the personal information and vital data of our students, school employees, families, school boards and local governments. It’s clear that our state is under siege from these attacks, and we must do more to ward them off.
These hacks show that our local communities, governments, schools and businesses need more help from the federal government to defend themselves from this threat, and I’m fighting to do just that, so we can take a mega bite out of ransomware before the crisis gets worse.”