How schools can better protect themselves against cyberattacks

Reported cyberattacks against K-12 schools in the US have hit 301 so far in 2019 compared to 124 in 2018 and 218 in 2017, according to a new report from security provider Barracuda Networks.

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When we think of cyberattacks, we tend to think of them affecting companies and businesses. But other types of organizations are just as susceptible to security threats, if not more so. One prime example is schools.

K-12 schools have seen an increase this year in threats including data breaches, malware, phishing attacks, network hacks, and denial-of-service attacks. In many ways, schools are more vulnerable than larger enterprises to cyberattacks as school systems often lack the necessary staffing, money, and resources to fully protect themselves. But there are actions schools can take to shore up their security measures, as outlined in a report released Thursday by Barracuda Networks.

SEE: Phishing attacks: A guide for IT pros (free PDF) (TechRepublic Premium) 

Threats against US and UK schools

Cyberattacks targeting US schools have risen this year, according to Barracuda’s analysis of data from the K-12 Cybersecurity Resource Center. So far in 2019, schools have reported 301 attacks, up from 124 last year and 218 in 2017. These numbers account only for reported cases, so the amounts are likely higher when factoring in unreported and undetected attacks.

Schools in the UK also have been victims of cyberattacks. A recent report from the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) found that 83% of the 432 UK schools analyzed have been hit by at least one cybersecurity incident, even though 98% of them had an antivirus solution…