New Bill Strengthens School Cybersecurity & Protects Children’s Privacy
SACRAMENTO – Assemblymember Rudy Salas (D-Bakersfield) introduced Assembly Bill 2326 (AB 2326) which will strengthen cybersecurity protocols at local schools by increasing coordination between the state and school districts while establishing best practices to respond to incidents in the future.
Assemblymember Salas introduced this legislation in response to recent attacks on local school districts that have cost the taxpayers millions and exposed personal information of children to hackers. On January 10, 2020, the Panama-Buena Vista School District was hit with a ransomware attack that knocked out phone lines, took down email services, and blocked access to the district’s grading system.
“We need to take action to protect our children’s personal information and prevent future cyberattacks on our schools,” said Assemblymember Salas. “Schools have to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in ransomware cyberattacks, this funding could be better spent on our students’ education.”
According to Kierk Sanderlin, the Head of Engineering for Check Point, a cyber-security firm, criminals typically want to make money from ransom attacks, however, through access to school systems they can steal the personal information of students, teachers and families. Currently, there is no plan or coordination between the state and local school districts to respond to incidents of cyber-attacks, which leaves districts extremely vulnerable.
“Protecting school networks and systems from digital attacks that may compromise sensitive student data and disrupt normal operations is more important today than ever before,” said Dr. Mary C. Barlow, Kern County Superintendent of Schools. “We appreciate Assembly Member Salas’ attention and concern in this regard and we look forward to partnering to help him identify statewide best practices and collaborating on initiatives in an effort to further cybersecurity in our schools.”
AB 2326 will bring stakeholders together to address these gaps in California’s response to these types of attacks to ensure that schools are not spending taxpayer dollars on ransoms and children’s private information is protected.
Assemblymember Salas represents part of the City of Bakersfield, the cities of Arvin, Hanford, Corcoran, Delano, Lemoore, McFarland, Shafter, Wasco, and the communities of Armona, Avenal, Buttonwillow, Home Garden, Kettleman City, Lamont, Lost Hills, Stratford and Weedpatch.