Putting Schools to the Test: K-12 Cybersecurity in 2023
As more and more K-12 schools move to online learning platforms and rely on digital systems to manage student information, cybersecurity has become a pressing concern. In recent years, there have been several high-profile cases of cyber attacks on schools, which have resulted in compromised data and disrupted operations. In this blog, we'll explore some of these cases and provide actionable tips for schools to protect themselves against cyber threats and ransomware.
One of the most notable cyber attacks on schools occurred in 2019, when the Rockville Centre School District in New York fell victim to a ransomware attack. The attackers encrypted the district's data and demanded a ransom of $88,000 to restore access. The district refused to pay the ransom and instead worked with cybersecurity experts to restore its systems. However, the attack resulted in a week-long shutdown of the district's schools and caused significant disruption.
Another notable attack occurred in 2020, when the Clark County School District in Nevada was hit by a ransomware attack that affected the district's distance learning system. The attack resulted in the district being unable to provide online learning for several days while it worked to restore its systems.
So what should you do?
Tips for Protecting Your School
The above cases illustrate the importance of taking cybersecurity seriously and implementing measures to protect your school's data and systems. Here are some tips to help you get started:
Conduct Regular Security Audits
Regular security audits can help identify vulnerabilities in your school's systems and prevent potential attacks. These audits should include assessments of your network, applications, and devices, as well as user behavior and access controls.
Train Staff and Students
All staff and students should receive regular training on how to identify and prevent cyber threats. This should include best practices for password management, email security, and safe browsing.
Implement Multi-Factor Authentication
Multi-factor authentication adds an extra layer of security to your school's systems by requiring users to provide more than one form of identification to access their accounts. This can help prevent unauthorized access even if a password is compromised.
Back Up Your Data Regularly
Regularly backing up your school's data is essential to ensure that you can restore access in the event of a cyber attack. Backups should be stored offsite and tested regularly to ensure they can be restored if needed.
Use Security Software
Anti-virus and anti-malware software can help detect and prevent cyber threats on your school's systems. It's important to keep these programs up-to-date and to regularly scan your systems for potential threats.
Cybersecurity is a critical issue for K-12 schools as they increasingly rely on digital systems and online learning platforms. By implementing the tips outlined above, schools can better protect their data and systems from cyber threats and ransomware. Conducting regular security audits, training staff and students, implementing multi-factor authentication, backing up data regularly, and using security software are all essential steps to help keep your school safe.