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    How did US schools become cybercriminals favorite target and how can they protect themselves? 

    By Loren Rozenbloom, 24/11/2022

    It seems that these days nobody is secure, and cybercriminals are expanding their activities to sectors in which they showed no interest in the past. So, for example, the US school system has been hit by more than 50 attacks since the beginning of the year and the number continues to grow.

    In a high-profile attack, Cybercriminals targeted last month the Los Angeles Unified School District, the second largest in the nation, with a ransomware attack.

    Apparently, schools are exposed to more attacks that the financial industry and according to the most recent Microsoft Security Intelligence report, the education system is by far the most attacked sector.

    Source: Microsoft

    There are several reasons why schools are vulnerable to ransomware and other cyber-attacks. Education institutions store lots of valuable data on their students and families. In some cases, this data is highly sensitive as it contains information on the physical or mental health of students or the parents financial situation (in the case of requests for financial aid).

    At the same time, in most cases schools lack the required resources to employ security experts and many of them lack the knowledge to deal with cybersecurity or even understand its importance.

    On top of that, most schools fail to protect their IT network properly and teachers and students are not prevented from downloading apps and software to the school system and using removable devices. Funding is critical roadblock that prevents school districts from investing in cybersecurity training and tools.

    The US Cybersecurity and & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has published a special security alert in which it said that the FBI assess malicious cyber actors are targeting kindergarten through twelfth grade (K-12) educational institutions, leading to ransomware attacks, the theft of data, and the disruption of distance learning services.

    “Cyber actors likely view schools as targets of opportunity, and these types of attacks are expected to continue,” CISA warned. “These issues will be particularly challenging for K-12 schools that face resource limitations; therefore, educational leadership, information technology personnel, and security personnel will need to balance this risk when determining their cybersecurity investments.”

    Among other schools need to deal with the following security challenges:

    • Increased use of cloud-based applications for remote work

     

    • Remote students need to access sensitive data

     

    • Insufficient monitoring, investigation of cyber threats

     

    • Lack of cyber security awareness

     

    In order to protect themselves schools are looking for easy to deploy and cost-effective solutions such as Zero Trust for Endpoint Security offered by BUFFERZONE.

    By using BUFFERZONE, schools can provide their staff and students a zero-trust Safe WorkSpace on every MS Windows endpoint that will protect them against advanced cyber threats coming from extremely high risk attack vectors such as Web Browsers, emails, Messaging Apps, and USB removable storage media.

    This solution focuses on true prevention, not just detection, and applies simple policies to manage. Due to BUFFERZONE non-detection-based security solution, IT security staff aren’t burdened by high volume of alerts and false positives. This enables IT security to focus on real threats instead of chasing false alerts.