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A Note from SyCom’s CISO – ‘School is Back in Session…’

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As students all over the country prepare to return to school, there is a heightened level of concern around Cybersecurity. Look at the K-12 Cybersecurity Resource Center, which tracks cyber incidents, and you can easily see several things:

  1. It tallies the number of K-12 Cyber Incidents reported since 2016 – a total of 939 when I checked.
  2. It provides a map showing recent incidents. A quick browse, while I was on the site, showed recent incidents in some of these local systems: Colonial Heights, Powhatan, and Albemarle County.
  3. By clicking on any incident on the map, you get details of the incident reported.

A report published by this group provides an annual look at Cybersecurity with breakdowns on information including lessons to be learned. According to the report, these escalating incidents caused the following:

  1. School closures.
  2. Theft of taxpayer dollars.
  3. Stolen identities.
  4. Tax fraud.
  5. Altered school records
  6. Loss of access to educational technology platforms.

Some key considerations that contribute to the escalation in incidents against educational systems are identified in a report by EdTech Magazine. These include:

  1. A misunderstanding that schools do not have anything that hackers would find interesting.
  2. Public understanding that schools are underfunded in technology.
  3. The lack of adequate human resources to build and maintain technology platforms.

What are the most common threats to these institutions (according to a report by the Consortium for School Networking)?

  1. Phishing accounts for 90% of all attacks.
  2. Distributed Denial of Service attacks.
  3. Data Breaches leading to the release of confidential information.
  4. Ransomware.
  5. IoT vulnerabilities, such as security cameras and non-managed devices in use by students and staff members.

We have students returning to schools, and we have customers who operate in the educational system. Know that our schools are under attack and make those around you who are part of this ecosystem aware.

Good luck and be safe,
Allen Jenkins, CISO