Student and school community data has been targeted by cyberattackers throughout the past years.

From the cyberattack on Albuquerque schools that closed facilities and the Chicago Public Schools data breach that compromised student and staff personally identifiable information (PII) to the permanent closure of Lincoln College after a combination of COVID-19 issues and a ransomware attack, school security leaders are facing a cyber threat landscape that has already caused operational damage to the sector.

The Threat Intelligence Report from Avertium analyzed Black Kite cybersecurity findings to determine cyber threats facing the education sector.

After identifying each of the top threats, the report suggested remedies designed for education IT and security leaders.

  1. Ransomware: School security leaders can conduct tabletop exercises and encrypt institutional data to mitigate the effects of a ransomware attack.
  2. Internet of Things (IoT) attacks: The report noted the importance of changing the default passwords on IoT devices used by the school, as well as implementing multi-factor authentication to inhibit malicious access attempts. Controlling network access to IoT devices may also help protect against attacks.
  3. Phishing attacks and social engineering: Security training and tabletop exercises simulating a phishing or social engineering attack can help prepare employees and teach them to recognize signs of an attempted breach. Extending training to students further secures the network.
  4. Data breaches: Backup school data regularly to limit the negative effects of a data breach. Impress upon the school community that human error is a top reason data breaches occur, according to the report.
  5. Unpatched and outdated software: Updating software like attendance management systems, classroom tools and more can help safeguard important school data from threats. If a vulnerability is discovered in software used by the school, patching it prior to a breach can save time and costs.

For more information on these cyber threats to school environments, click here.