At least for right now, the first semester of this year’s academic calendar has come to a close. While colleges and universities stay closed for most of the next month, winter term classes typically kick into high gear after New Year’s Day has come and gone. Likewise, at the K-12 educational levels, students and teachers are given a break until early January. Amidst all of the various challenges that educators and learners have faced this year, it’s easy to overlook several vital cybersecurity concerns associated with how to protect K-12 classes from hackers and other intruders.
The Risk of Ransomware
Cyberattacks unfold in a multitude of ways. One of the most common these days is known as “ransomware”; these attacks lock users out of their computer resources and networks unless a certain amount of money is paid to the attacker. Essentially, the assets are held for ransom, hence the name. The most common forms of ransomware affecting K-12 education in terms of cybersecurity are as follows: Ryuk, Maze, Nefilim, AKO, and Sodinokibi/REvil.
The Menace of Malware
Malware is a more subtle strain of the ordinary computer virus that most everyone probably has some idea of from their years spent surfing the internet. Malware attacks have affected various educational institutions and jurisdictions across the country – namely, state, local, tribal, and territorial. Windows-based operating systems are most vulnerable to a particular malware called Zeus; exposed machines are infected, which in turn leaves them helpless when sensitive information is swiped and sent to so-called command-and-control servers. Shlayer is the main driver behind malware assaults against MacOS systems. Malicious websites, hijacked domains, and malicious advertising can all slip past the firewalls and other protective measures installed on Mac platforms – which have famously been more resistant to computer viruses than their PC counterparts.
The Possibility of Phishing
Phishing is one form of cyberattack that afflicts business enterprises all over the world. Cybersecurity needs to be taken as seriously as physical security is – however, this scenario isn’t always addressed with the proper amount of resources involved. Phishers are starting to target K-12 students more frequently, along with their parents, teachers, and IT professionals. Distance learning is a complex and immensely difficult arrangement to maintain even without the presence of seemingly-innocuous or legitimate emails that ask for information pertaining to account credentials or other confidential information. Other related threats include fake domains, DDoS (Distributed-Denial-of-Service) attacks, and even video conferencing hijacking.
Ways to Protect Your Distance Learners
So what can you do to protect your distance learners? Three smart ways to do it involve the following tips:
A.Make sure all outdated software is properly patched;
B.Be sure to have passwords rotate at set intervals;
C.Then, enforce the use of multi-factor authentication on all associated accounts.
Trust the Professionals at ARK Systems
Located in Columbia, Maryland, ARK Systems provides unsurpassed quality and excellence in the security industry, from system design through to installation. We handle all aspects of security with local and remote locations. With over 30 years in the industry, ARK Systems is an experienced security contractor. Trust ARK to handle your most sensitive data storage, surveillance, and security solutions. Contact ARK Systems at 1-800-995-0189 or click here today. Check us out on Facebook and Twitter as well!