Schools, Transportation & Esports – The Next Set of Regulations and Solutions [Weekly Cybersecurity Brief]

If the first half of the year was defined by eye-opening attacks, it can be said that the second half is about figuring out how to prevent them from happening again. From commitments made by leading tech giants – such as the announcements made by Google that we covered in last week’s Cybersecurity Brief – to strategic international meetings, there have been a series of reports covering the next set of responses to an ongoing process of evolving cybersecurity. The past week followed suit as the TSA issued new regulations, President Biden signed a new cyber-related bill and the U.S. Cyber Games continued prepping the next generation of cybersecurity innovators.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) recently announced that it will impose new cybersecurity mandates on the railroad and airline industries. According to CNN, the requirements seek to replace voluntary cybersecurity reporting and set a “baseline” for transportation industries to comply with. Railroads and other rail entities that are considered high risk will now have to create attack recovery plans, designate cybersecurity points of contact and report any incidents to the federal government. Operators in the airline industry will also be required to identify specific cybersecurity personnel and notify the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency of any concerning circumstances. 

In addition to its role in reporting regulations, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) was also a part of a billed signed by President Biden last week that commissions the organization to study the cyber risks impacting elementary and secondary schools. As the K12 Security Information Exchange concluded, there have been more than 1,200 cyber incidents affecting K-12 public schools since 2016. In order to help prevent future issues, the agency has been given 120 days to review the difficulties preventing schools from being able to fully secure systems and sensitive information. They must also come up with training tools that help address these challenges. 

Aside from policies and bills, there is also a search for up-and-coming skills that may embody the ability to shift how we recognize and combat cybersecurity issues. Noah Smith of The Washington Post wrote that, “As the United States seeks to shore up its defenses against cyberattacks, the country is seeking to harness the skills of some of the country’s most promising young minds using a model that mirrors competitive video gaming, also known as esports.” This is being done through the U.S. Cyber Games, which is a project funded by the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education that has recruited 25 Americans, ages 18 to 26, to compete in next year’s International Cybersecurity Challenge. The competitions are styled like video games in which teams work to complete tasks such as defending a network from intruders or decrypting an encrypted file. Ultimately, this esports approach attempts to attract future cybersecurity professionals.

Key Takeaways:

“TSA to impose cybersecurity mandates on railroad and aviation industries” – Geneva Sands, CNN

https://www.cnn.com/2021/10/06/politics/tsa-cybersecurity-mandates-railroad-aviation/index.html

  • The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) recently announced that will impose new cybersecurity mandates on the railroad and airline industries.
  • Railroads and other rail entities that are considered high risk will now have to create attack recovery plans, designate cybersecurity points of contact and report any incidents to the federal government.
  • The airline industry will also be required to identify specific cybersecurity personnel and notify the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency of any concerning circumstances.

“The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency will study the cyber risks facing elementary and secondary schools and develop recommendations to assist schools in facing those risks.” – Jenni Bergal, Nexgov

https://www.nextgov.com/cybersecurity/2021/10/biden-signs-school-cybersecurity-bill/186017/

  • President Biden signed a bill last week that commissions the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency to study the cyber risks impacting elementary and secondary schools.
  • The agency has been given 120 days to review the difficulties preventing schools from being able to fully secure systems and sensitive information.
  • They must also come up with training tools that help address these challenges.

“U.S. pursues a unique solution to fight hackers. It revolves around esports.” – Noah Smith, The Washington Post

https://www.washingtonpost.com/video-games/2021/10/15/cybersecurity-hacks-esports/

  • The U.S. Cyber Games, a project funded by the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education, has recruited 25 Americans, ages 18 to 26, to compete in next year’s International Cybersecurity Challenge.
  • The competitions are styled like video games in which teams work to complete tasks such as defending a network from intruders or decrypting an encrypted file.
  • Ultimately, this esports approach attempts to attract future cybersecurity professionals.
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