Strengthen Your School Cybersecurity to Prevent Ransomware Attacks

Gain the ultimate protection against malware with the trusted Google Workspace for Education management tool.

What is a Ransomware Attack?

Ransomware is a type of malware that holds a user or organization’s data hostage. The perpetrator demands a ransom payment to unlock access to the files.
Ransomware attacks in schools exploit systems, people, and devices vulnerabilities to infect software. They can cause a range of damage, including student personal data breaches and disruptions to the school system.

105%

Increased ransomware attacks in K12 and higher education in 2023 (265 attacks) compared to 2022 (129).

647K

American K12 students were affected by ransomware attacks in 2021.

$53b

was lost in downtime by K12 and higher education institutions worldwide, which suffered 561 attacks between 2018 and 2023.

6.7m

personal records were breached in these cyber incidents.

108

US school districts fell victim to a ransomware attack in 2023

3 days-
3 weeks

That’s how long ransomware attacks in schools usually last. Data recovery can take many months.

Why Do Hackers Attack School Networks?

Educational institutions have become one of the most common victims of cybercriminals. School districts are attracting the attention of hackers due to several security vulnerabilities.

Valuable School Data

The school system stores personally identifiable information about students, teachers, and parents, such as medical records, social security numbers, and credit card data.

Vulnerable system

Students and teachers sometimes use old devices and software. Educational institutions may also lack IT expert knowledge, and recognizing cyber threats can be challenging for school staff.

Low-budget cybersecurity

Schools often have limited cyber protection measures because they don’t spend as much on cybersecurity as other sectors, even though they manage sensitive data.

How Do Ransomware Attacks Impact Schools?

A cybersecurity breach can affect not only a single device or a user but can spread across the entire school network. Depending on the scale and type, it may cause short- and long-term damages and affect the safety and wellness of every student.

Sensitive Data Loss

The school system stores personally identifiable information about students, teachers, and parents, such as medical records, social security numbers, and credit card data.

Financial Costs

Recovering school infrastructure (software, devices, etc.) affected by a ransomware attack usually costs money and additional working hours for the IT team. Sensitive data breaches may cause greater financial, personal, and reputation damage.

Disrupted Learning

Cyber attacks interfere with e-learning and other activities that require access to the school network. Before the attack is mitigated, students may miss classes, and teachers may lose access to their teaching resources, assessments, and assignments.

Secure Permission Management

Manage and keep updated individual user access permissions to data stored in the school domain to minimize the risk of leaking.

Updated Backups

Ensure backups of essential school data and systems on an external offline drive or another vendor’s cloud. Review and test them to keep them current.

Cybersecurity Awareness Training

Encourage students and teachers to engage in early cyber risk detection. Raise their skills and knowledge of cybersecurity threats.

Cyber Incident
Response Plan

Establish procedures to detect and manage cyber incidents and efficiently reduce damages they cause in school.

Strong Password Policy

Require from students and teachers complex, unique passwords, which don’t include known and personal data, and change them regularly.

Multi-Factor Authentication system

Force two or three-factor authentication, which includes a password and an additional layer of security such as a biometric or a phone code.

Updated Software

Avoid using unsupported or end-of-life software. Scan your systems and conduct security assessments regularly to detect vulnerabilities early.

Real-Time Risk Monitoring

Set automated notifications of suspicious activity in the domain, like unusual user behavior, file sharing, password changes, etc.
Equip yourself with these must-have cybersecurity strategies to provide your students and teachers with a safe and efficient e-learning environment.

Your School Ransomware Defense Toolkit

Get Your Free Guide to Creating Cyber Incident Response Plan for K-12 Admins

Get Your Free Guide to Creating Cyber Incident Response Plan for K-12 Admins

Stay Ahead of Cyber Threats: Risk Monitoring

Cybercriminals are constantly scanning school networks for the weakest link. Your school can be their next target. Anticipate their attempts and monitor cyber risks real-time. Early risk detection prevents a cyber incident from occurring and reduces possible damages.

Monitor your school system, user activity, and devices at all times. Any suspicious activity in your domain can be an early warning that a bad actor wants to compromise your cybersecurity.

Only a highly efficient, advanced tool can guarantee granular monitoring of every user activity on every site and at every moment. Such a tool supports the admin’s efforts in detailed Classroom monitoring, content, and web filtering.

GAT Shield. CIPA Compliant in Google Workspace for Education

How Does GAT Suite for Education Safeguard Against Ransomware?

GAT Labs offers school admins a highly capable toolset to monitor Google Workspace for the Education domain. GAT Suite for Education delivers seamless management, in-depth auditing, and cybersecurity protection for all users and devices in your school’s Chrome-based cloud.

GAT Shield, our live cyber risk detection tool, is a unique solution offering in-browser 3FA for Chrome users. It’s the most secure real-time app for Data Loss Prevention in the education market.

It allows admins to:

– Live detection of suspicious user activity
– Customized real-time alerting based on your own rules
– Sites blacklisting for given users and web filtering
– Live Chrome browser monitoring and reporting
– Keyword search across the school domain

Reinforce Your School Cybersecurity Now

Stay one step ahead of hackers and protect your school from ransomware attacks and other cyber threats. Ensure a secure and safe space for your students and teachers. Rely on the top toolset from GAT Labs and upgrade your Google Workspace for Education live monitoring.

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Best of 2023 at the Tech & Learning Awards.