Despite advances in cybersecurity in the US education system, thousands of US schools are vulnerable to online attacks, which can result in the theft of confidential data and disrupt operations.
Since August, many school districts have signed up for free cybersecurity services, while federal authorities have hosted exercises in schools to teach children how to protect their networks, said Anne Neuberger, the federal government’s deputy national security adviser for cyber and emerging technologies. .
The official indicated that the remaining school districts should take advantage of the programs to protect themselves against hackers, whose purpose is to block computer systems and, in other cases, steal and publish information. if a ransom is not paid.
“Incidents happen over and over again, often in the same way, and there are defenses to protect against them. And this is where the government is really bringing companies together, bringing agencies together to enforce some of this,” Neuberger said in a interview. “Don’t give up. Come and register. And your kids will be safer online.”
Over the summer, the federal government announced measures to help under-resourced schools slowly improve their cybersecurity. Several attacks have been operating from Russia and have forced some schools to temporarily close, exposing themselves to the theft of students’ private information.
In October, parents sued the Clark County School District in the state of Nevada, alleging a ransomware attack led to the disclosure of confidential information of teachers, students and their families at the fifth largest school district in the United States.
In another case, hackers broke into the Minneapolis Public Schools system and released sexual assault case data and other confidential files after the district refused to pay a million-dollar ransom.
It is estimated that up to 9,000 small electoral districts across the country, with up to 2,500 students, are eligible to receive free cybersecurity services from the company Cloudflare, through the “Project Cybersafe Schools” program , where 140 districts have signed up. .