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Learn How to Prevent Ransomware Attacks at K-12 Schools - Tips and Resources from SchoolSafety.gov

  • 1.  Learn How to Prevent Ransomware Attacks at K-12 Schools - Tips and Resources from SchoolSafety.gov

    Posted 05-06-2021 07:57:00 AM

    As part of the 2021 "Virtual School" Cybersecurity Campaign,  SchoolSafety.gov has outlined guidelines for preventing and responding to a ransomware attack. 

    Do you know the risks of ransomware?

    Online learning has allowed students to continue their education throughout the pandemic, but schools have also been at higher risk of ransomware attacks. To protect schools and student communities from ransomware attacks, it is important to know what a ransomware attack is, how to prevent these attacks, and steps to take if an attack were to occur.

    • About Ransomware: Ransomware is a form of malware designed to encrypt files on a device, rendering any files and the systems that rely on them unusable. Malicious actors then demand ransom in exchange for decryption.
      1. Ransomware incidents can severely impact administrative processes and leave schools without the data they need to operate.
      2. Malicious actors also increasingly use tactics, such as deleting system backups, that make restoration and recovery more difficult or infeasible for impacted organizations.
    • Ransomware Prevention Checklist: Use this checklist to avoid ransomware attacks and keep your school's information secure.
      1. Avoid downloading software from unknown sources.
      2. Avoid clicking untrustworthy links in emails.
      3. Back up your computer frequently.
      4. Avoid giving away personal information such as passwords and usernames.
    • Ransomware Attack Response Checklist: Use this checklist following the event of a ransomware attack. Please refer to CISA's Ransomware Guide for the complete checklist.
      1. Determine which systems were impacted, and immediately isolate them.
      2. Only in the event you are unable to disconnect devices from the network, power them down to avoid further spread of the ransomware infection.
      3. Triage impacted systems for restoration and recovery.

    Adam Lustig
    Director, Center for Safe Schools
    National School Boards Association
    Alexandria, VA