As quoted in:
Miller, Maggie. “Cyberattacks find easy target in nation’s schools.” The Hill. 9 August 2019.
“While school districts may not seem to be the obvious target for hackers in comparison to governments or essential services, Doug Levin, the founder and president of EdTech Strategies, a consulting firm, told The Hill that they are easy targets due to outdated systems and the fact that they handle large amounts of money.
EdTech Strategies runs the K-12 Cybersecurity Resource Center, which tracks the number of reported cyberattacks that U.S. school districts have faced since 2016. According to their incident map, there have been 533 cyber incidents involving school districts since January 2016, with the majority of attacks concentrated in suburban and urban school districts.
The map shows the majority of attacks targeting school districts involve “unauthorized disclosures, breaches, or hacks” of the personal information of school employees or students, while other types of cyber incidents include phishing emails, denial-of-service attacks, and ransomware attacks.
Levin noted that many school districts may not know they have been attacked in some way, or may not have publicly disclosed incidents, meaning that the actual number of cyberattacks against school districts may be “10 to 20 times higher.”
Levin saw these state actions as positive developments, but emphasized the importance of sharing information about attacks between school districts. He said if a cyberattack succeeds in one district, the actors tend to repeat it in others.
He recommended that state governments promote “cyber hygiene” awareness, such as encouraging people to change passwords on emails and not click on attachments, as one way to combat these threats.
Levin said it was “unfortunate” that Louisiana was forced to declare a state of emergency.
“In 2019 and going forward, this is the norm. These attacks happen everywhere with increasing frequency and increasing severity,” he said. “This can’t be an emergency, this is the state of play at present.”