No institution, no matter how noble its function, is off-limits to hackers. Like social enterprises, which believed themselves immune to cyberattacks, schools and school districts have been learning this the hard way in a series of twisted events spanning multiple states.
In Columbia Falls, Montana, a group of cybercriminals called The Dark Overlord threatened school faculty and students alike. They sent warnings that they would publish students’ private information unless they were paid $150,000 in Bitcoin, making reference to the violent acts at Sandy Hook Elementary School to intimidate their targets. The threats resulted in a three-day shutdown across more than 30 schools.
Another event following a similar pattern, in which personal information was compromised, occurred in Houston. Shortly thereafter, the U.S. Department of Education issued a warning to teachers, parents, students and administrators.
It’s no surprise that these schools were targeted by hackers. Academic institutions have long been on the favorites list for phishing scammers, largely because of their vulnerable populations and alarmingly low levels of cybersecurity protection.
Like small businesses that have approached cyber defense with a “too small for hackers” mentality, schools have relied on the assumption that they are out of bounds or not important enough to hit criminals’ radar. All the while, school administrators are updating their record-keeping systems to put them on-network, and classrooms are introducing more internet-connected technologies to support learning.
As schools move their operations into the digital age, there’s no excuse for disregarding cybersecurity. Budgets and resources are limited, but affordable cybersecurity solutions and managed services exist to help school districts understand and mitigate their risks so they can better protect the students they serve.
Lunarline is a top provider of managed security services, leveraging several state-of-the-art security operations centers to support our clients. We are also a recognized leader in cybersecurity solutions that automate, simplify and improve security processes. For more information on how we can help your school improve your cybersecurity position, contact us online today!