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House Passes Bill to Help State, Local Agencies Address Cyber Risks

cybersecurityThe House voted 394-3 Monday to pass a bill that aims to increase cyber defenses at the state and local levels of government.

The National Cybersecurity Preparedness Consortium Act , sponsored by Joaquin Castro (D-Texas), would authorize the Department of Homeland Security to partner with universities and nonprofit to offer cyber risk and incident management training, courses and technical assistance to state and local agency officials and first responders, Castro’s office said Monday.

The bill also seeks to help communities establish data sharing programs, incorporate threat prevention and response into their emergency plans and encourage cybersecurity coordination between agencies, businesses and infrastructure operators through cross-sector exercises.

“It’s critical that localities understand the impact cyber attacks could have on their ability to function, and are prepared to prevent, detect, respond to, and recover from harmful cyber incidents,” said Rep. Castro.

The legislation would mandate DHS to collaborate with a consortium led by the University of Texas at San Antonio as well as to establish cybersecurity outreach programs aimed at historically black colleges and universities, tribal schools and Hispanic-serving institutions.

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