On June 25, a new bill was introduced to the U.S. House of Representatives which would help educate the American public about cyber threats and how to best avoid them.

About the bill

A bipartisan effort sponsored by Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) and co-sponsored by Reps. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.), Gus Bilirakis (R-Fla.), Marc Veasey (D-Texas) and Chrissy Houlahan (D-Pa.), The American Cybersecurity Literacy Act would task the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) with setting up a new cyber literacy campaign. According to The Hill,

“The campaign will include lessons on how to identify malicious phishing emails, the need to change passwords often and use multifactor authentication on sensitive accounts, and highlight cyber risks posed by the use of publicly available WiFi hot spots, among other issues.”

The bill was introduced by legislators who are concerned about the current level of cybersecurity awareness among average Americans following several significant cyberattacks in the U.S. over the past year. According to a recent survey conducted by Pew Research, U.S. adults understand less than 50% of the cyber issues currently facing the public today. 

Protecting the public

While many people might think that attackers will target large companies so they can steal larger amounts of data, nearly half of cyberattacks are directed at small businesses. With over 85% of cyber attacks happening as a result of human error, congress members are hopeful that this new legislation will help the public learn to be more proactive in their personal cybersecurity habits – stopping attacks before they even begin, whether at home or work. Rep. Kinzinger commented:

“Over the past few months, we have seen rampant cyberattacks across the United States that have disrupted business, increased consumer costs, and threatened our national security… In order to prevent these attacks going forward, we must combine public awareness with targeted cyber education.”