Safeguarding K-12 school networks with proactive cybersecurity approaches | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #ransomware

Key points:

  • School districts need bigger cybersecurity budgets and support mechanisms
  • Cybersecurity threats are not going away, and knowledge is a large factor in protecting networks

Now more than ever, safeguarding students and staff from targeted cyberattacks is critical to the health of our U.S. education system. Local K-12 schools are a top target for cybercrime. Estimates from the nonprofit organization K12 Security Information Exchange reveal more than 1,300 publicly disclosed cyberattacks against U.S. schools since 2016.

The size and scope of these threats amplified during COVID-era hybrid learning, when schools were forced to rapidly adopt cloud-based collaboration technologies at scale. But even though students have returned to the classroom post-pandemic, just like every other industry, the K-12 threat landscape isn’t slowing down.

It’s understandable why school networks are an opportunistic target. They hold the keys to large quantities of valuable intellectual property and sensitive PII, financial, and healthcare data that can be exploited for ransomware and monetary gain. And with myriad vulnerable access points, limited IT resources, and a continually rotating student body, maintaining a strong security posture is often riddled with complexity. According to reports cited in CISA’s first-ever K-12 security report, nearly 30 percent of K-12 school district members have reported being victims of the following cyber incidents:

  1. Data breaches exploiting the personally identifiable information of students, teachers, and school community members
  2. Ransomware attacks
  3. Business email compromise (BEC) and phishing attacks
  4. Denial of service (DDoS) attacks
  5. Website and social media defacement
  6. Online class and school meeting invasions
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National Cyber Security