FCC invests $200 million in cybersecurity efforts at public libraries, schools – UPI News

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June 6 (UPI) — The Federal Communications Commission has launched a $200 million pilot program to tackle cybersecurity threats at schools and public libraries.

“This program will allow the commission to obtain actionable data about which cybersecurity services and equipment would best help K-12 schools and libraries address the growing cyber threats and attacks against their broadband networks,” the FCC said in a statement.


The commission wants to learn how to improve how schools and libraries can defend themselves against sophisticated ransomware and cyberattacks, which it says puts students at risk and could impede their learning.

“The vulnerabilities in the networks we have in our nation’s schools and libraries are real-and growing,” FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said in a statement accompanying the announcement.

“The pilot program will allow the commission to gather the data needed to better understand whether and how universal service funds could be used to support the cybersecurity needs of schools and libraries and to share lessons learned with our federal partners to jointly combat this growing problem,” FCC officials continued in the statement.

The money will be used to help offset the costs of the equipment schools and libraries need to carry out their cybersecurity measures.


The cybersecurity program is on top of a separate FCC program that’s designed to narrow the gap between Internet haves and have nots. The FCC’s Learn Without Limits program looks to ensure high-speed internet connectivity in all schools and libraries, but also Wi-Fi on school buses, in Tribal communities and other areas off the school campus.

Schools and public libraries have named cybersecurity among their highest and most important threats to the integrity and of their information and the safety of their institutions.

Schools and public libraries could be the next frontier for cyberattacks and security issues. This effort comes on the heels of relatively recent and ongoing ransomware and cybersecurity hacks on business and industry.

Five years ago, tens of millions of dollars had already been spent as a result of the cybersecurity attacks by hackers running sophisticated programs. The attacks have taken place in the United States and in overseas nations, as well.

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