Cybersecurity Threats to K-12 School Districts are a Clear and Present Danger: Steps to Improve Your Cybersecurity

Securus360

K-12 school districts are increasingly facing cybersecurity threats that can have serious implications. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) recently released a report outlining the steps schools need to take to protect themselves from these threats. In this blog post, we will discuss several of the current cybersecurity threats to K-12 school districts, as well as the steps that schools need to take to improve their cybersecurity posture.

What are the current cybersecurity threats to K-12 school districts?

According to a recent report by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), there has been a significant increase in cyberattacks against K-12 school districts between 2021 and 2022. These attacks have included ransomware, phishing, brute force attacks, and malware infections.

Ransomware has been particularly rampant, with attackers encrypting school district data and then demanding payment in exchange for restoring access. Phishing attacks are also on the rise, with attackers sending emails posing as someone trustworthy in order to gain access to user credentials and other sensitive information. Brute force attacks, which attempt to break into networks by trying thousands of combinations of passwords, are another major threat. Finally, malware infections can compromise systems and allow attackers to steal data or disrupt operations.

Failure to address these threats can have devasting consequences. Schools can suffer serious disruptions from ransomware attacks, leading to downtime and lost data. Phishing attacks can result in compromised credentials and data breaches, leading to the release of personal or otherwise sensitive information. Malware infections can lead to system outages, data loss, and even malicious activities like identity theft as student social security numbers and other personal information are prime targets for bad actors. By not addressing these threats, schools are putting their students, staff, and data at risk.

What are some steps that schools can take to improve their cybersecurity posture?

The report released by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) provides the steps that school districts can take to improve their cybersecurity posture and to manage and mitigate risks posed by digital threats, such as phishing attacks, ransomware, and distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks.

The CISA’s 2023 recommendations to K-12 School Districts are:

  • Invest in the most impactful security measures and build toward a mature cybersecurity plan;
  • Recognize and actively address resource constraints;
  • Focus on collaboration and information-sharing.

Additional recommendations include:

  • Assessing the organization’s current security posture and prioritizing improvement efforts;
  • Implementing regular staff training and awareness programs to educate all employees on identifying potential threats;
  • Ensuring that all systems, networks, and applications are protected with up-to-date software patches;
  • Regularly monitoring user activity, security incidents, and data leakage;
  • Developing an incident response plan to effectively respond to any potential threats;
  • Strengthening remote access policies to ensure that remote users only have access to the resources they need.

To support these recommendations, school districts should invest in advanced technologies like Managed eXtended Detection and Response (MXDR) from Securus360. MXDR is a comprehensive solution that includes 24/7/365 monitoring of network traffic, real-time threat detection, automated threat hunting, and more. This helps detect and prevent malicious activity before it can cause damage.

Proactively investing in cybersecurity is a worthwhile endeavor for any organization, but especially for school districts, which are prime targets for cyberattacks due to the large amount of sensitive student data they manage. With the right security measures in place, school districts can protect their data and keep their students safe.

Securus360 Specializes in Cybersecurity for K-12 School Districts

Securus360 focuses exclusively on providing cybersecurity solutions for K-12 school districts, delivering innovative technology designed to protect students, staff, and teachers from cyber threats, and to ensure the safety and security of their digital environments.

MXDR from Securus360 is an advanced Managed eXtended Detection & Response platform designed specifically for K-12 school districts. MXDR will detect potential cyber threats and take action quickly to prevent a breach. It also provides automated incident response capabilities that help schools address potential issues quickly and efficiently.

Securus360 MXDR provides school districts with enhanced visibility into their network traffic across all endpoints, servers, network and security devices, as well as cloud instances, allowing them to identify potential malicious activity before it can cause damage.

Finally, Securus360 MXDR offers a comprehensive security assessment service that can help school districts identify potential vulnerabilities in their network, evaluate their current security posture, and recommend corrective measures to improve their security.

Securus360's MXDR solution provides K-12 school districts with enhanced protection from cyber threats and helps ensure the safety and security of their digital environments. Contact Securus360 today to learn more about their MXDR solution and how it can help you protect your school district from cyber threats.

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