As hackers are seen increasingly targeting data storage servers of school districts security analysts suggest that educational institutions operating in the west will be heavily targeted by hackers in near future as they are proving as treasure troves for them to earn millions.
Furthermore, as schools are facing funding shortages, they are seen putting measures related to cybersecurity on a back burner. This is what is encouraging hackers on launching more cyber attacks on K-12 schools as incidents reported this year(533) have already been reported to have surpassed the total of 2018(427) as per survey conducted by K-12 Cybersecurity Resource Center.
At this stage security researchers from F-secure are urging the CIOs or CTOs managing school district to focus on three basic approaches which might assist them avoid cyber-attacks on their school databases.
Better go for prevention- Most school districts try to mitigate risks when they are encountered. But Cybersecurity researchers say that school districts must focus more on prevention than mitigation as it helps in cutting down losses. This can be achieved by shifting focus on securing applications and data before any cyber attack takes place. Using threat monitoring solutions and anti-malware or ransomware solutions will also help in avoiding network disruptions due to a cyber attack.
Disaster recovery should be strictly followed- All companies big or small and public/private usually have a disaster recovery plan to keep their applications running even when any untoward incident hits their IT infrastructure. But due to budget constraints and lack of awareness disaster recovery is often neglected often resulting in data loss which can indeed make or break a business. The same theory applies to school districts as losing valuable data might put the careers of student pupils at risk. Therefore, having a backup plan in place and educating staff and students on incidents taking place in the current cyber landscape can help prevent risks to a large extent.
Insider threat should be erased- As schools have started to adopt cloud applications, they should also ensure to improve their security posture to prevent any internal incident. For instance, a staff member like a teacher or a student could be at home and click a phishing link while on a school network making it easy for hackers to pass through the firewall and gateways of the educational institute to siphon data or spread/induct malware. Therefore, focusing more on endpoint security might help minimize the internal threats that could prevent sensitive data leaving the school networks.
Remember, prevention might prove a bit expensive in the initial stage of security implementation on school networks. But it pays back double at some point of time in future saving you from a big data loss.