What school leaders need to know about organized cybercrime

Cyberattacks against K-12 schools continue to climb in both number and scale. Such attacks can have serious repercussions; according to a recent report from the Government Accountability Office, “officials from state and local entities reported that the loss of learning following a cyberattack ranged from three days to three weeks, and recovery time ranged from two to nine months.”

These attacks aren’t just being carried out by disgruntled students or “lone wolf” types. Increasingly, schools are becoming targets of organized cybercrime organizations. The FBI, CISA and the MS-ISAC issued warnings at the start of this school year, anticipating attacks may increase as criminal ransomware groups perceive opportunities for successful attack.

The rise of Ransomware-as-a-Service…Read More

Strategies to help IT leaders combat imminent cyberattacks

It is undeniable–the education sector is prone to cyberattacks from malicious cybercriminals due to the amount of personal data available across user devices and organization networks. Just this past fall, the FBI, CISA and MS-ISAC issued an alert on Vice Society, whose actors have been known to disproportionately target the education sector with ransomware attacks.

While cybersecurity is certainly a top concern among this sector, tight budgets and resources mean that it is often not addressed until a major incident occurs. Given the imminent nature of today’s threat landscape, now more than ever, the urgency surrounding how best to protect and mitigate such attacks is at an all-time high.

With 40 percent of education devices found to have sensitive data stored, educational institutions must be adequately prepared to proactively prevent and respond to potential cyberattacks before a system breach occurs.…Read More

3 proactive school safety measures leaders can take in 2022

After a lull in threats of violence early in the pandemic, we are once again seeing tragic stories of deadly shootings and acts of violence as schools reopen. Schools and educators are in difficult positions and looking for ways to keep kids and staff safe. Nationwide, schools are preparing for potentially harmful threats, putting precautions in place, and evolving the school safety landscape.

As a parent of school-aged children, I received notifications regarding the recent threats that trended on Tik Tok in December. Local authorities, the FBI, district leaders and school security teams all worked together to monitor the situation. But what proactive safety and security measures can schools be taking?

Here are three ways schools can reduce potential safety risks before and during an emergency.…Read More

School’s (locked) out: Defending against the new ransomware threat

With schools planning for the 2021-2022 school year, a threat already impacting districts across the country is on many district leaders’ minds. Ransomware is proving to be a thorn in the side of the federal government, healthcare institutions, IT organizations, and school districts.  

Since December of last year, many of the nation’s top cybersecurity organizations, including the FBI, CISA, and the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center (MS-ISAC) have

received numerous reports of ransomware attacks against K-12 educational institutions.…Read More

6 strategies for better K-12 cybersecurity

The education sector has had to rapidly adopt and scale new technologies to enable remote and hybrid learning as a result of the pandemic. This has created an expanded threat landscape, and malicious actors have taken this opportunity to target academic institutions to an even greater extent.

In mid-March, the FBI issued a warning about an increase in specific ransomware targeting education institutions in 12 U.S. states and the United Kingdom. This alert follows a steady wave of cyberthreats facing educational institutions in recent months. We first saw a spike when remote learning kicked off last fall.

Education leaders must take a proactive stance to mitigate risk. Remote school, and the hybrid approach many districts have switched to in recent months, have placed new challenges for network security that cannot be ignored. Cybersecurity posture must be baked into educational IT infrastructure in this ever-evolving threat landscape.…Read More

Feds: No charges in school laptop-spying case

A school accused of spying on students through remote-activated webcams will not be charged.
A school accused of spying on students through remote-activated webcams will not face criminal charges.

No criminal charges will be filed against a suburban Philadelphia school district that secretly snapped tens of thousands of webcam photographs and screen shots on laptops issued to students.

The FBI and federal prosecutors announced Aug. 17 that they could not prove any criminal wrongdoing by Lower Merion School District employees.…Read More

Official: FBI probing school webcam spying case

The FBI reportedly is probing whether any federal wiretap laws were violated.
The FBI reportedly is probing whether any federal wiretap laws were violated.

A Pennsylvania school district accused of secretly switching on laptop computer webcams inside students’ homes is under investigation by federal authorities, a law-enforcement official with knowledge of the case told the Associated Press (AP).

For its part, the district says it never used webcam images to monitor or discipline students and believes one of its administrators has been “unfairly portrayed and unjustly attacked.”…Read More