Cyber security has become a major problem for public schools over the past few years, but 2018 is bringing an unprecedented amount of cyber-attacks on schools all over the United States. Reports of different school districts falling victim to phishing and ransomware attacks are popping up all over the country. Let’s look at some recent attacks, as well as how one state is responding to this major threat.
Roseburg Public Schools Fall Victim to Ransomware
On the morning of Monday, May 7, Roseburg public schools in Oregon experienced a ransomware attack that blocked access to the district’s website and email. The district’s superintendent said at the time that IT personnel were working to restore encrypted files, and that it doesn’t appear that any personal information has been stolen or compromised.
Unfortunately, days later the school district’s website still appears to be down. The school district says it will not release any further information about the hacker’s demands due to an ongoing police investigation.
Hackers Gain Access to Fredericksburg School District’s Systems Using Phishing Emails
Hackers created a fake email impersonating a regional organization to gain access to Fredericksburg school district’s electronic mail and filing systems last month. The Virginia school district detected the breach the next day, but not before hackers were able to access 14 employee emails and 1 employee’s files.
The local superintendent sent out a letter warning parents that hackers may have had access to both student and parent information including full names, addresses, phone numbers, and insurance information.
The malicious email appeared to be sent from a group that regularly sends info to local schools, a school employee reportedly thought it appeared suspicious, but clicked on it anyway. After this initial breach, hackers were able to send phishing emails to more employees.
Indiana Launches New Cybersecurity Initiative for Schools
The Indiana Department of Education just announced a new initiative to boost cyber protection education and funding in public schools. Indiana wants to make sure its schools faculty and students are prepared for cyber-attacks. Schools will even be able to apply for grants of up to $25,000 for cybersecurity funding.
Indiana is also putting together a task-force to help teachers and staff become more familiar with cyber security and common threats. Some Indiana schools will be testing cybersecurity high school courses.
Every School Needs to be Prepared
Cybersecurity for public schools is no longer optional, hackers view schools as easy targets due to large numbers of online users and large amounts of sensitive data. JDL Group can help your school or district make sure it is prepared for anything with the latest in endpoint protection. Contact us today for a security assessment.