Coming To Fruition
Over the past week, reports have been flooding in about the cyber attacks schools are facing. North Carolina schools have been battling attacks since earlier this year, but it seems like no one location is the target.
This was predicted by the FBI. Warnings are issued regularly. With the COVID-19 pandemic still very much a threat, however, schools have to make difficult decisions. Funds are stretched not only to make the physical environments safer, but to increase internet security as well.
The increase in cyber attacks since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic makes securing networks more difficult. IT directors are overloaded. Educating kids online is a priority, however it opens schools up to security risks. Criminals are taking advantage of this chink in the chain.
Increasing security measures isn’t enough if it’s misplaced. Hartford Schools spent $500,000 last year on beefing up security. Unfortunately, they were still hacked and unable to begin the school year.
Spending more doesn’t mean more secure. Many of the measures currently in place in our schools are outdated, yet the districts keep throwing money at them hoping they’ll work. The same security measures that were practical last year are no longer viable.
For instance, the end of last year and earlier this year, we were recommending having backups as a part of your security plan. Keeping separate drives with your data was a good step in keeping yourself safe from hackers. That’s no longer the case.
Hackers are now downloading data and threatening to release it. It doesn’t matter if you have a backup. If they have your information copied, they can do what they like with it. With this change in the security winds, we now have to change our approach.
Going On The Offensive
Sitting back and waiting for an attack, then mitigating the damage isn’t an option. The data stolen can affect the lives of real people. Therefore, we need better security plans in place.
Schools should start by putting their money into the technology that’s proven effective. It’s common knowledge now that the federal government along with tech experts support a default-deny approach to security. By spending money elsewhere, school districts are compromising the privacy of employees and students.
In The End
In the end, cyber security is an ongoing battle. As the criminals become more sophisticated, we have to rise to meet them. The attack on America’s schools has begun. Is your district ready?
As always, stay safe out there.
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