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K-12 Organizations are Under Cyber Attack

by Jackie Davis

It’s National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM) – time for EdTech professionals to focus on cleaning up their cyber hygiene, educating students on safe online practices, and take the steps to protect themselves and their organization from threats. This week, we’ll learn about the surprising number of threats aimed at K-12 organizations, themes for NCSAM, and how to spot a hacker.

The K-12 Cybersecurity Crisis

In the summer months of 2019 alone, there were over 160 publicly-disclosed security incidents impacting K-12 schools. This is an increase of 30 percent from the 2018 reports. According to Absolute’s recent research report, 47 percent of K-12 organizations are investing in cybersecurity, but 74 percent don’t use encryption.

The study highlights the importance of a strong cyber policy for schools and the impact that complex IT environments are having on an already overloaded school workforce. For schools to secure their data, they must assess the risk from each system and develop cyber strategies in the event of an attack.

Read more here.

National Cyber Security Awareness Month

National Cyber Security Awareness Month is celebrated every October and highlights the trends, threats, and technologies that impact security today. Each year, NCSAM raises awareness of the importance of cyber security and promotes safer practices online.

“Own it. Secure it. Protect it.” is the theme for this year and focuses on consumer devices, e-commerce security, and citizen privacy. As educational institutions implement more technologies, it’s important to take proactive steps to ensure cyber security. Connected technologies help students and teachers and improve classroom collaboration, but also pose a risk for cyber threats.

Read more here.

Who are the Hackers?

Schools may be surprised to learn that the hackers who infiltrate their data aren’t always hardened cybercriminals – they are often students with a specific motivation. According to Thomas Holt, a cybercrime expert at Michigan State University, society pictures “a hacker is a lone kind of sophisticated computer user,” he said.

“But in reality, hacking doesn’t have to be that complicated. It can be guessing someone’s password to get into their email account. The entry points appear somewhat similar to traditional delinquency, which tells us that hacking may not be as unique as it’s often thought to be,” said Holt.

Read more here.

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