Education, specifically K-12 school districts, could benefit from ID Management system implementation in their schools to prevent cyber-attacks. The FBI has released a warning that teachers and staff as well as students could be targeted in an increase in cyber-attacks against K-12 schools.  

 

“The FBI has warned of a possible surge in ransomware attacks targeting schools in the US, as the country’s second largest school district succumbed to compromise over the holiday weekend.The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), which serves over 600,000 students from kindergarten to twelfth grade, released details of the attack on Monday’s Labor Day holiday.” (Info Security Magazine).  

 

ID Management systems refer to implementing preventative measures to limit identifying information and infiltration risk. Taking these measures is detrimental during a time of increased technology use in the classroom. 

 

“With K-12 schools incorporating digital tools, platforms and social media into their classrooms — heightened, of course, by the COVID-19 global pandemic — comes a proliferation of users, accounts and points of access waiting to be exploited by ransomware and phishing attacks. Districts big and small can be vulnerable to the attacks.” (Gov Tech). “As schools nationwide increasingly rely on these digital tools, the need to manage their user accounts and passwords becomes ever more critical for limiting, if not preventing, cybersecurity incidents, according to people like Michael Webb, the chief technology officer at identity management software company Identity Automation.” 

 

Creating a foundation of security to strengthen cyber defense is critical following the attack against LAUSD, as according to the FBI, more attacks are coming.  

 

“It’s unclear which strain of ransomware impacted the LAUSD, although the FBI and CISA yesterday issued a warning of potential attacks on K-12 schools from the Vice Society threat group, designed to coincide with the start of the new term. The joint advisory states that the group typically uses Hello Kitty/Five Hands and Zeppelin ransomware variants, but may deploy other types in the future. Under-protected schools and their managed service providers (MSPs) may be targeted as a rich source of sensitive student data.” (Info Security Magazine).  

Cyber security and education professionals have a multitude of ID Management suggestions to help schools guard their data.  

 

“’Implement multi-factor authentication for school staff and educators,’ said Doug Levin, the national director of K12 Security Information Exchange, or K12 SIX, a nonprofit dedicated solely to helping school districts and other K-12 organizations protect themselves from emerging cybersecurity risk.” (Gov Tech).  

 

Weak systems are the most at risk, but all K-12 school systems should strive for improvement.  

 

“’The FBI, CISA, and the [Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center] MS-ISAC anticipate attacks may increase as the 2022/2023 school year begins and criminal ransomware groups perceive opportunities for successful attacks. School districts with limited cybersecurity capabilities and constrained resources are often the most vulnerable; however, the opportunistic targeting often seen with cyber-criminals can still put school districts with robust cybersecurity programs at risk.’” (Info Security Magazine).  

 

However, this is no small feat. All K-12 schools should reach out for help with cyber concerns for the improvement of their cyber security. 

 

“’It is a huge task, and it is not one that most school districts are well-equipped to sort of expand to cover issues of cybersecurity, which require their own level of expertise,’ Levin said. But Levin insisted that if schools are trending toward a more digital approach, they should, in turn, adopt practices better suited to protect them — despite the federal laws for minimum standards of cybersecurity practices not changing in nearly a half century.” (Gov Tech).  

 

Have any questions about cyber-security? Responsive Technology Partners is the leading cyber-security expert in the Athens, Metter, Milledgeville, Vidalia, and Atlanta, Georgia areas. We also have locations in Tampa, Florida, Roanoke, Virginia, and Raleigh South Carolina. Service offerings include I.T. support, cyber-security and compliance, telephony, cloud services, cabling, access control, and camera systems. Our company’s mission is to provide world-class customer service through industry leading I.T. solutions that make every customer feel as if they are our only customer. Please visit our website to learn more: https://www.responsivetechnologypartners.com/. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sources: 

Gov Tech. https://www.govtech.com/education/k-12/could-id-management-limit-cyber-attacks-on-k-12-districts 

Info Security Magazine. https://www.infosecurity-magazine.com/news/fbi-k12-ransomware-warning-lausd/