School districts all over the United States faced a major problem during this past summer. It was attack after attack, leaving school systems dataless and preventing students from starting school on time. And schools are still dealing with the effects of this cybersecurity crisis.
According to a Forbes article, cybersecurity was a major problem for school districts this past summer with a record of 160 publicly disclosed security incidents reported. This is 30 percent more than the total number of incidents reported in all of 2018. Ninety-three percent of school systems depend on native client/patch management tools that have a 56 percent failure rate and nine percent of client/patch management failures are never recovered. Having to deal with complex IT environments and a more digitally savvy student population, school systems are an easy target to cybersecurity attackers.
With more attacks happening each day, Absolute’s research report, Cybersecurity and Education: The State of Digital District in 2020, detailed five main points of the crisis the education system is facing.
- Skyrocketing Number of Attacks
- In a three-year span, 700 cybersecurity attacks were reported. 160 of these attacks happened in the summer months of 2019, which is 22 percent of the attacks. Forty-nine school districts were affected by ransomware attacks, which means that schools are the second-largest pool of ransomware targets behind local governments.
- Proliferation is a Growth Catalyst for Cybersecurity Crisis
- High-speed internet is used in 94 percent of school districts, while 82 percent of schools provide students with school-funded devices. With these high percentages, funding for educational technology has also increased by 62 percent in the last three years. Increasing the use of technology in the classroom is challenging for IT specialists because they have to secure, on average, 11 device types, 258 unique operating systems and 6,400 unique Chrome OS extensions, which adds to the crisis.
- Staff and Students Bypassing Security Endpoint Controls
- There is an average of 10.6 devices with web proxy/rogue VPN apps per school and 319 unique web proxy/rouge VPN apps in use today. This means, schools are at risk of non-compliance with the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) as 42 percent of K-12 organization staff and students regularly bypass security endpoints using web proxies and rogue VPN apps. This bypass action is how attackers are able to breach school networks.
- Is Cybersecurity the Top Priority?
- IT specialists say cybersecurity is at the top of their priorities -yet 53 percent rely on client/patch management tools and are demonstrating ineffective in securing proliferating IT infrastructures. There is an average of nine daily encryption agent failures and 44 percent of those are never recovered.
- Providing Greater Device Visibility and Endpoint Security Controls
- Through visibility to the device level, K-12 IT administrators and educators would be able to better understand how they can adopt broader learning programs.
Technology is a major educational tool in schools. Most school work is completed on school tablets or computers, and this cybersecurity crisis is leaving school districts extremely vulnerable. Student safety on the internet is a top priority as K-12 IT specialists try to solve the cybersecurity crisis of 2019.
At MDL Technology, your company’s security is our number one concern. By offering services such as 24/7 help desk support, network monitoring and offsite data backups, we help ensure that you don’t need to stress about private information becoming public. Learn more about the services we offer by visiting our website.