Lawmakers call for increased school cybersecurity

Reps. Doris Matsui (D-Calif.) and Jim Langevin (D-R.I.) on Friday urged the Department of Education to prioritize protecting K-12 institutions from cyberattacks, which have shot up in the past year as classes moved increasingly online during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a letter to Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, the two lawmakers highlighted concerns that cybersecurity threats to school have spiked during the pandemic, and urged Cardona to issue guidance to educational institutions to help navigate these threats.

“As the U.S. continues to battle the ongoing pandemic, the Department of Education will play a critical role in supporting American families as they navigate the challenges of distance learning and prepare to reenter the classroom safely,” Matsui and Langevin wrote.

“To help ensure schools are keeping pace with the demands of the modern classroom, we urge you to issue guidance that will allow K-12 schools to make needed investments in increased cybersecurity measures,” they added.

The letter was sent after a year in which school districts were hit with a wave of cyberattacks and other online interruptions as K-12 institutions were forced to hold classes online during the COVID-19 pandemic.