With summer now a distant memory and students across the country back in the swing of things, school districts have been facing a rising danger. This year, schools face an increased threat of falling victim to ransomware attacks.
Ransomware is a specific type of computer virus that locks digital files and blocks access to computer servers–effectively shutting down entire operating systems–until a ransom is paid to those responsible for the attack. This dangerous type of extortion has been increasing in prevalence and while it was once generally aimed at corporations, hackers have recently begun shifting their focus to new targets, including government agencies and school districts.
Related content: Protecting your district from ransomware attacks
As an educator, if you haven’t yet heard of ransomware, chances are you will soon. According to a report by the K-12 Cybersecurity Resource Center, there were more than 120 cybersecurity incidents that targeted K-12 school systems last year and the trend doesn’t show signs of slowing. During the summer of 2019 alone, ransomware attacks affected school operating systems in states including Nevada, Alabama, New Mexico and Louisiana.
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