Cybersecurity Crisis at K-12: The Continuous Ransomware Attacks and How to Avoid Becoming the Next Victim

With every click of a mouse, K-12 schools face the looming threat of a ransomware disrupting operations and compromising sensitive data. Picture a scenario where a simple email attachment or an overlooked software update plunges an entire school district into chaos, locking down networks and holding vital information hostage. This unfortunately is now a harsh reality.

Did you know?

  • Ransomware attacks against K-12 schools increased by 140% from 2022 to 2023
  • A ransomware attack now happens every single K-12 school day
  • It can take 3 weeks to get back to normal, sometimes nine months to fully recover as recently reported by NPR

In fact, K-12 schools are now the top target for ransomware, edging out higher education, healthcare, municipalities and government sectors, as recently reported by Forbes.

So why are the attackers targeting K-12 schools and what action steps should K-12 schools take to avoid becoming the victim?

Why Attackers Target K-12

  • Schools not only have access to a vast amount of student data and administrative records, but they also possess a wealth of parent data like Social Security numbers and credit card information, and confidential and sensitive health and other personal information, making them prime targets for attackers.
  • The student data, especially younger student data is valuable for the attackers to steal so they can sell it in the dark web for identity theft, since it will be years before a student will realize their identity has been stolen and financial fraud has been committed.
  • Schools are more likely to pay ransoms than many other institutions, despite evidence suggesting that paying a ransom barely increases the odds of data recovery.
  • When schools refuse to meet ransom demands, attackers may reach out to students’ families and promise to withhold their data in return for individual payments. This practice is becoming more popular with attackers, as they can threaten parents, promising that their household’s data will be safe as long as they pay up.

Recent K-12 Ransomware Attack

Watch this 3-minute video about a recent K-12 school ransomware attack as reported by NBC WBRE-TV, featuring cybersecurity expert and CyberCatch CEO, Sai Huda, explain the two primary methods used by attackers and the three action steps every single K-12 must take to avoid becoming the next victim.

CyberCatch has emerged as a formidable ally in the fight against cyber threats, offering cutting-edge cybersecurity solutions tailored to the unique needs of educational institutions. As a K-12 institution, compliance with NIST Cybersecurity Framework (CSF) and the implementation of 108 cybersecurity controls are essential to keeping your organization safe from cyber threats. CyberCatch provides the premier continuous compliance and cyber risk mitigation solution for K-12, ensuring easy compliance with NIST CSF while offering the most affordable and highly effective solution on the market.

Through continuous compliance, cyber risk mitigation and real-time insights and solutions, CyberCatch empowers schools to fortify their defenses and safeguard their networks from ransomware attacks, and other malicious exploits.

A Safer Tomorrow

By partnering with CyberCatch, schools can bolster their cybersecurity posture and ensure uninterrupted learning environments for students and educators alike. Together, let’s take a stand against cyber threats and pave the way for a safer, more secure future in education. Join us in safeguarding the sanctity of learning with CyberCatch – because protecting education is protecting the future.

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