Microsoft Program Focuses on Cybersecurity for Rural Hospitals

On Monday, Microsoft announced its new Cybersecurity Program for Rural Hospitals in the United States. Rural hospitals serve more than 60 million people in our nation. Too often, these critical hospitals are targeted by ransomware attacks, which threaten care in rural communities. The program will be rolled out in collaboration with the White House, the American Hospital Association, and the National Rural Health Association. Coverage of this development can be found on CNN. For more information—and to help rural hospitals access this program—visit this page.

Thank you for reading! Our roundup of tech policy news and a featured podcast follow below.

This Week in Washington 

  • New York Times and Microsoft on the Issues: During a hearing of the House Committee on Homeland Security, Microsoft Vice Chair and President Brad Smith said the company accepts responsibility for a 2023 Microsoft Exchange Online cyber intrusion of certain U.S. government email by malicious actors affiliated with the People’s Republic of China. In his testimony, Smith detailed the historic steps Microsoft is taking to strengthen cybersecurity, saying that the company’s “steps are emblematic of a corporate-wide and permanent shift to ensure that we place security above all else in a world in which there is constant combat in cyberspace.” Microsoft is also elevating cybersecurity as a component of company-wide performance reviews and executive compensation to drive accountability throughout the company. Smith’s full written testimony, along with additional information, can be found in this blog post, “Microsoft’s work to strengthen cybersecurity protection.”
  • The Washington Post: The upcoming elections in November could serve as a critical point for federal data privacy legislation. The current Congress will be relying on the next group of leaders in their seats to either decide on and pass legislation or implement legislation that becomes law before November.
  • Nextgov: Federal agencies saw a nearly 10% increase in cyberattacks targeting their systems last year, but fortunately there has also been an increase in detection and categorization of the attacks.
  • FedScoop: A new bipartisan bill in the U.S. Senate would require federal agencies to assess the risks of artificial intelligence technologies before purchasing and using them. The legislation would establish pilot programs requiring government contracts that ensure safety and security terms for the use of artificial intelligence. 
  • StateScoop: The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) will work with two tech-focused think tanks to adapt digital identity guidelines and develop resources that help providers of public benefits programs.
  • Nextgov: Lawmakers are aiming to curb kids’ use of social media by setting a minimum age to access the platforms. The Kids Online Safety Act also aims to put more onus on the platforms to give minors the ability to protect their information, disable addictive features, and more. 
  • Broadband Breakfast: The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted unanimously to review new rules sought by financial institutions and broadband Internet Service Providers to address current policies that may be hindering the rollout of broadband in rural communities.
  • StateScoop: The FCC approved the Schools and Libraries Cybersecurity Pilot Program, an initiative that will strengthen the cybersecurity defenses of schools and libraries.

Article Summary

Featured Podcast

  • BBC News – Tech Life
    Ahead of the Paris Olympics, Alasdair Keane hears how the organization behind the event is enlisting an AI platform to tackle online abuse aimed at athletes competing in the event. Shiona McCallum meets the next generation of game designers and we find out about a project in Rwanda to improve the fit of prosthetic limbs. (Tackling online abuse of athletes – May 21, 2024)