What school districts are doing to prevent cyber attacks

What school districts are doing to prevent cyber attacks

Posted: Updated:
LUBBOCK, Texas -

About 13,000 school districts across the country have been recently attacked in a Pearson Education data breach.

According to a 2018 Security Scorecard report, the education industry has the worst cybersecurity vulnerability of 17 sectors in the U.S. 

Lubbock ISD Cybersecurity Administrator Jordan Waller said it is the staff accounts that hackers are targeting, since student accounts are highly regulated.

He said 90 percent of all these cyberattacks start with a "fishing e-mail," which is why the district simulates ransomware tests, sending out fake emails to prepare staff.

"This kind of helps get our staff aware, and through that, they're able to report those and when they report something that we've tested them on, it's like -- congratulations, you identified it and it points out the things you need to look for. If they failed and clicked on it, we know they've clicked on it, and so we can follow up and give them more information and training on the things they need to look for," Waller said.

While these ransomware emails vary, Waller said a couple of common denominators include threats, calls to action, and misspellings. 

Frenship ISD Chief Technology Officer Joe Barnett said they also conduct these tests, adding the definition of school safety has evolved.

"The closer our students get to 18, the more valuable their data is. We used to be concerned with physical security when our students are here, and we are still concerned with that, but now it includes digital security," Barnett said.

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