Home Tech How can schools gear up for increasing cases of cyberattacks?

How can schools gear up for increasing cases of cyberattacks?

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Remote-learning is the new norm in education sector, in the wake of Covid-induced social distancing, due to which there is a high dependence on internet.  As education is becoming more and more dependent on technology, it is also becoming more prone to the threats of cyberattacks.

Last month when a ransomware attack hit Finalsite, a private company that provides webhosting and other communications services, around 5,000 schools and universities’ websites went black lately.

Finalsite works with 8,000 institutions and colleges in over 100 countries and is presently investigating the event that occurred on January 4th. A ransomware attack occurs when hackers gain access to a computer system of a company or an individual and then demand payment to restore the system.

The attack, which touched 3,000 US K-12 public schools shows how prevalent the issue of cybersecurity has become.

This may also serve as a reminder that school districts should consider not only their own data security systems, but also those of the technology and education firms with which they collaborate.

Who could be behind such attacks?

Schools are being terrorised by shady criminal organisations with titles like The Dark Overlord. They get into school networks and extort hundreds of thousands of dollars in ransom money, threatening schools with dire consequences if they do not comply.

How can schools improve cybersecurity ?

Following pieces of advice should be followed to strengthen cybersecurity in schools:

Setting up strong online perimeter

To safeguard school networks from cyber threats, unauthorised access, and dangerous information, schools should install powerful perimeter firewalls and internet gateways. Controls for cyber security should be regularly reviewed and verified on a routine basis.

Examine all third-party vendors extensively

Schools should thoroughly examine all third-party platform suppliers to ensure that their security and safety policies are at least as strict as their own. Teachers should offer access to students, parents, and guardians using email addresses.

Ensure that configuration and patch management are secure

Schools should know exactly what hardware and software are on their networks and make sure that any configuration modifications are properly authorised, documented, and executed. Only authorised users should be able to make changes to devices. When manufacturers offer software updates and security fixes, they should be applied as soon as possible.

Make a financial investment in cybersecurity and internet safety education

As part of school security, the Department of Education mandates that pupils be taught about online safety. They should make sure that all employees are aware of the hazards and that they have their own security policies in place that include appropriate and secure system usage. Regular training sessions should be held to ensure that employees and students are informed of new phishing or spoof email assaults.

Consider the use of personal gadgets

Students should be taught how to use their personal gadgets responsibly, how to connect with one another on social media, and where to seek support. When employees work from home, they should be given IT equipment that is just for work usage and not to be shared with other family members

 

Use of a virtual private network

When employees work from home, VPNs should be used to ensure that data transferred back and forth to the school’s network is encrypted, so that it cannot be deciphered even if intercepted.

 

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