In a move to fortify cybersecurity defenses, the Healey administration in Boston announced the allocation of over $9 million in federal grant money for state and municipal public agencies in Massachusetts. This announcement comes as cities and towns face an escalating threat from hackers, with ransomware attacks on the rise.
Municipal Local Cybersecurity Grant Program
The Municipal Local Cybersecurity Grant Program will distribute $7.2 million to local agencies, enabling them to bolster their cybersecurity defenses against hacks and attacks. Applicants can request up to $100,000 in funding, and multiple municipalities can jointly apply for up to $300,000. These federal dollars will be provided through the State and Local Cybersecurity Grant program, overseen by the federal Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
State Share Cybersecurity Grant Program
An additional $1.8 million is available through the State Share Cybersecurity Grant Program, which will support state agencies in their cybersecurity efforts. With ransomware attacks often involving hackers encrypting local government or school networks until a ransom is paid, these funds aim to protect the digital infrastructure of Massachusetts.
Increasing Cyber Threats and the Role of Federal Authorities
The need for enhanced cybersecurity measures is evident, as most attacks start through unpatched systems or stolen passwords. Recently, federal authorities in Boston seized internet domains selling malware, including the Warzone RAT malware, used by cybercriminals. This development underscores the critical role of federal authorities in combating cybercrime and protecting the digital landscape.
As the Healey administration works to strengthen cybersecurity defenses, cities and towns in Massachusetts can look forward to improved protection against the growing threat of ransomware attacks. With the help of these federal grants, the state is taking a significant step towards safeguarding its digital infrastructure and ensuring the safety and security of its residents.
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