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Two Women Talking

How Schools Can Combat Hackers

by W.J. Hennigan and Brian Bennett

Los Angeles Times

Article excerpt

Criminal hackers now target hospitals, police stations and schools

So-called ransomware attacks have surged so sharply that the FBI says hacking victims in the United States have paid more than $209 million in ransom payments in the first three months of this year, compared with $25 million in all of 2015. The FBI has not reported any arrests.

Our take

Educating to Take a Stand Against Hackers

Health organizations are getting a lot of attention in the media these days related to ransomware attacks, but educational institutions also represent a prime potential target. Internal awareness and education are important to ensure that all staff know what these attacks consist of and what they need to be alert for. Are you communicating sufficiently to staff across your school system to help them, help you, protect student privacy and educational assets?

The fight against cyberattacks is ongoing. Those determined to break into systems are continually changing their techniques and methodologies to become ever more difficult to detect, divert and defuse. Technology barriers aren’t the only means of defusing these attacks though. It’s important to keep staff educated and informed about the role they play in helping to protect against security breaches. More than simply explaining what they need to do (e.g. change passwords frequently, avoid clicking on links from unidentified sources, etc.) it’s important to convey the why behind the rules. Sharing examples of how other institutions—within and outside of education—have been impacted can help to convey the severity of these attacks.