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Internet Under Attack

by Bridget McCrea

eSchool News

Article excerpt

What happens when student hackers shut down a district’s internet?

As CUSD and other K-12 districts have learned firsthand over the last few years, DDoS attacks can quickly bring down what has become an educational mainstay for students, teachers, and administrators alike: access to the internet. Defined as an attack in which multiple compromised systems hit a single target, thereby creating a “denial of service” for anyone who is trying to use the targeted system, DDoS prevents legitimate users from accessing information, services, and anything else that’s driven or supported by the internet.

Our take

Keeping the Internet On: Addressing Potential Security Risks in Education

School systems, like virtually everyone these days, have come to rely upon access to the Internet to do their daily work and interact with others. What happens when that now taken-for-granted access is gone? A great deal of disruption. That’s what Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks do, and the risk of such attacks is increasing. How vulnerable is your school system to such an attack?

Security concerns are emerging as a new area of focus for educational institutions that, in the past, were not quite as vulnerable to these attacks as other organizations (e.g. finance and healthcare). Today, though, few industries are immune, and that includes education. Understanding what risks exist is a good first step. Taking steps to address those risks both through IT actions, and through communication and collaboration with other key audiences (administrators, instructors, staff, parents and students), can help to minimize exposure and allay concerns.