School IT systems struggle with cyber security

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Dive Brief:

  • This spring, a student launched a cyber attack on Idaho’s largest school district, slowing the Internet connection and caused computers to crash.
  • Few school districts have the security systems necessary to ward off similar attacks while they’re in progress, and, in a piece for eSchool News, Vectra Networks security analyst Jerish Papapurath says that needs to change.
  • The attack in Idaho took place in the midst of online testing, and several students had to retake entire exams.

Dive Insight:

Papapurath writes that schools are particularly vulnerable to cyber attacks. They have a combination of highly sensitive information, such as student and parent personal data, and outdated or insufficient security protections.

While many districts have firewalls and other preventive measures in place, Papapurath says those are often just one piece because even big corporations like Target and JP Morgan Chase have had their firewalls breached and information stolen.

Instead, schools should turn to more active methods of security that use big data tools to identify and end an attack mid-course. One upside? Data science tools “protect without prying.” Rather than looking at the actual contents, which could include personal details about students and their performance or financial records, the tools look at metadata to shield the system.

Source: Education Dive

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