Does Your School Know How Ransomware Attacks Work?
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Microsoft Education Suite can help New York City and Long Island school districts be secure against cyberattacks including phishing, ransomware, and data theft.
When the New York Times reported on cyberattacks on school districts in July 2019, the Syracuse school district had been locked out of its email and data systems for more than two weeks. According to the Times, Syracuse was expected to pay a $50,000 insurance deductible to regain access. The price may or may not have included an unspecified bitcoin ransom demanded by hackers. In August 2019, Rockville Centre’s district on Long Island tapped into their insurance policy to pay a ransomware demand of nearly $100,000. Over 170 city, county, and state government organizations including school districts have been hit by ransomware attacks between 2013 and July 2019, according to the U.S. Conference of Mayors.
Microsoft takes the growing threat of ransomware and other cyberattacks on school districts and educational systems seriously. It developed Microsoft 365 with multiple secure capabilities to protect your district, its data, its staff and faculty, and students. This is one reason why Network Outsource sees Microsoft’s Education Suite as an excellent choice for school districts in New York and Long Island, including Nassau and Suffolk Counties. Another reason Microsoft 365 is good for schools? Teachers and students can use the programs for free.
Rockville Centre’s district fell prey to a phishing scam delivered via email. Microsoft’s email programs provide warning tips that can help staff and students identify phishing scams. They also make it easy to report potentially unsafe messages. Windows Mail and Outlook offer warning tips and easy ways to report suspicious messages and senders.
Some phishing scams are extremely clever and tempting, and they can even imitate authentic Word, PowerPoint or Excel documents used in classrooms or by the administration. Phishing scams don’t always target the whole district. They can threaten individual users including students, faculty, and staff. Network Outsource can help your district with secure Microsoft email and document use.
Microsoft’s Intune can help you maintain security and privacy for your district’s students and educators. Microsoft’s Azure Active Directory will make it simple and quick for you to add and authenticate users. If your students and educators are using district-provided devices, you can manage any losses or thefts quickly and easily. Azure Active Directory also helps you to comply with requirements to keep your student information secure. Network Outsource can help you take advantage of all of Intune’s capabilities for keeping your faculty, staff, and students connected securely and safely.
You already know your district must follow strict FERPA and state privacy standards for student health and safety information. Hacking, phishing, and other attacks put confidential information at risk. Microsoft’s products for educators are designed with these national and local standards in mind. Microsoft’s key privacy principles include control, transparency, security, strong legal protections, and no content-based targeting of users in your district.
You can establish the strongest cybersecurity protocols to protect your district from intrusions and cyberattacks, but if staff or students don’t do their part, attacks can happen. Microsoft supports your cybersecurity protocols and provides free on-demand training. The suite of education products that Microsoft offers fully support good security practices among all of your district’s users. You can use Microsoft’s tools to support cybersecurity essentials among students, faculty, and administration at all levels.
2019 brought new ransomware attacks on school districts in New York State. While Syracuse and Rockville Centre were forced to pay a ransom to access their systems after cyberattacks, Mineola’s district in Nassau County was able to restore its system and data through backups it had taken offline. For a lot of different reasons, having a solid security solution that meets the needs of everyone in your schools is a “must-have” not “nice to have.” Network Outsource is an MSSP (managed security service provider) that can help you to safeguard your digital assets. Network Outsource is experienced in supporting the combination of secure technology and training that Microsoft’s Education Suite offers. Microsoft’s products for K-12 schools are an excellent foundation for your district’s overall security as well as educational support IT needs.