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4 back-to-school cybersecurity tips | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #ransomware

Key points:

  • IT teams face a major challenge: protect school networks with limited budget and personnel
  • Experts say it’s no longer a matter of if a school gets attacked, but when
  • See related article: Are ransomware attacks the new snow days?

Due to budget and resource constraints, many schools and other academic organizations are only able to implement very basic cybersecurity tools and processes, and this leaves them extremely vulnerable to cyberattacks.

We’ve seen this play out over the past 12 months with high-profile attacks on school districts in Los Angeles, Minneapolis and Tucson, Ariz., among many others. And, because cybercriminals can compromise school networks for big gains with very little effort, we expect attacks on education will only increase.

As the new school year quickly approaches, IT and security teams face a seemingly overwhelming task: protect school networks with limited budget and personnel. The good news is that there is some basic blocking and tackling that can significantly help schools build a strong cybersecurity and cyber resilience foundation, including:

1. Mandating strong passwords. It’s easy to choose a simple password or to repeat passwords across accounts for memory’s sake, but the consequences of doing so can be severe. In fact, according to the FIDO (Fast Identity Online) Alliance, passwords are the root cause of more than 80 percent of data breaches. Educating students and staff about the importance of strong, hard-to-guess passwords cannot be overstated. Research shows that a 12-character password could take 27,000 years to crack and cost hackers $6.4 trillion to do so. Mandating strong passwords is a simple, cost-effective way to strengthen a school’s cybersecurity posture.

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