ROCHESTER, N.Y. Ė U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer Wednesday called on Congress and the Federal Bureau of Investigations to help school districts and other local government bodies threatened by increasingly common and sophisticated cyber-attacks.
The issue has put school districts across New York on guard, particularly after the Syracuse City School District was hit with ransomware earlier this year. The district ended up paying a $50,000 insurance premium to free itself, Schumer said.
"Itís a threat thatís wreaking havoc on our state and more specifically our schools," he said. ďIt's time to hit 'control-alt-delete' on ransomware and take a megabyte out of hackers."
He put forward two proposals. The first is a bill called the Department of Homeland Security Cyber Incident Response Teams Act, which already has passed the House of Representatives. It would create specific teams within DHS to assist local government with cyber-attacks.
Schumer also said the FBI should be more active in targeting attacks at their source, often out of the country. State bureau offices, meanwhile, would investigate specific incidents and report back to various levels of government.
"Often when districts get these cyber-attacks, they donít know exactly who to turn to," Schumer said. "This is way beyond the scope of local officials."
In the Rochester area, school districts have fallen victim to hacking attempts in the last several years, though in two cases it was students, not foreign agents, who did it.