EXCLUSIVE: The National Cybersecurity Center and Google on Monday are launching a training program for state lawmakers and their staff in all 50 states to best prepare them for cyber threats ahead of the 2022 midterm elections, FOX Business has learned.
The initiative, Cybersecurity for State Leaders, will include nonpartisan trainings intended to prepare lawmakers and statehouse staff "to be vigilant against cyber threats" by offering to educate on the "ecosystem" of cybersecurity, common types of cyberattacks and best practices on how to protect individuals against cyber threats, the NCC told FOX Business.
The forums, according to NCC, are expected to feature individuals from both the public and private sector, including Investor on ABC's "Shark Tank" and founder and CEO of Herjavec Group Robert Herjavec, former State Department Spokesperson and Undersecretary of State for Public Affairs Heather Nauert, Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.V., and Chief Information Security Officer for the Information Security Division of the U.S. Small Business Administration James Saunders.
Representatives from Google, IBM, Microsoft's Defending Democracy Program and others are also expected to participate.
"Cybersecurity is more important than ever with businesses, government, and private individuals falling victim to digital attacks everyday," Forrest Senti, Project Lead for Cybersecurity for State Leaders, told FOX Business. "Cybersecurity for State Leaders is a critical initiative that will help state leaders in all 50 states arm themselves and their teams with best practices to safeguard themselves and their constituents against cyber threats."
The initiative is formally launching Monday, with the bipartisan signing of its "Cyber Charter" by Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose and Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold.
“Americans must have confidence in their elections. That can't happen if we aren’t vigilant in our defense of the digital systems that make up our election infrastructure," LaRose, a Republican, said. “Here in Ohio, we’ve set a new national standard for cybersecurity. With the signing of the National Cybersecurity Center cyber charter, we’re rededicating ourselves to expanding and evolving the best practices that have made our state a leader.”
Griswold, a Democrat, added that "cyberattacks are one of the biggest threats posed to our nation, targeting the business community, federal, state, and local government, as well as individuals."
Google first announced the partnership with the NCC in February, as part of its efforts to include supprt for state level campaigns ahead of the 2022 midterm elections.
“This program aims to educate state lawmakers and staff on ways to strengthen their defenses against digital attacks,” Google said. “The training will be conducted in all 50 states over the course of 2021, with a targeted focus on state legislators and their staff.”
Google said it made it “a priority to equip campaigns with tools they need to strengthen their own security, protect themselves against digital attacks and reach voters” during the 2020 election cycle.
NCC is a nonprofit organization established in 2016 for cyber innovation and awareness, serving both public and private organizations.