Schools are increasingly becoming targets of cyber attacks due to the sensitive nature of the information they hold. The personal data of students and staff, financial information, and intellectual property are all at risk. With the rise of remote learning and cloud-based technologies, schools are now more vulnerable than ever to cyber threats.
Recent Attacks call School Security into Question
The recent cyber attack on the Rochester public school system in Minnesota has caused the school district to close all 42 of its schools. The district took its systems offline after identifying "irregular activity on its network." The district has not commented on whether any data has been stolen, or whether the school has received a ransom demand. This news follows another recent cyber attack on the Jefferson County School System in Alabama, and a previous attack on the Minneapolis Public School system in February.
Fortunately, there are solutions available to help schools protect against cyber attacks. In response to the increasing cyber threat to K-12 schools, the U.S. Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has developed a report with recommendations and cybersecurity guidelines for leaders in the K-12 community. The CISA K-12 Online Toolkit provides recommendations and resources to help IT professionals "build, operate, and maintain resilient cybersecurity programs" for their school district IT environments. The toolkit also offers free cybersecurity training and resources available for the K-12 community.
The report details what it calls Highest Priority Security Controls, as well as Additional High Priority Security Controls, which include minimizing exposure, awareness and training campaigns, near-term investment prioritization, and leveraging the NIST Cybersecurity Framework (CSF). The Highest Priority Security Controls include implementing multi factor authentication (MFA), identifying and fixing known security flaws, performing and testing backups, and developing and exercising a cyber incident response plan.
As part of the second-highest priority, identifying and remediating known security vulnerabilities, CISA urges IT professionals to prioritize remediation of vulnerabilities listed in CISA's Known Exploited Vulnerabilities (KEV) Catalog. This can be done either by signing up for recurring updates when new vulnerabilities are added, or by using a third-party service that automatically identifies the presence of vulnerabilities on the KEV catalog, including Runecast Solutions Ltd.
Runecast is a top Choice for Proactive Cybersecurity
Runecast Solutions Ltd. is a leading provider of a cloud-native application protection platform (CNAPP) for virtualized, hybrid and multi-cloud environments. The company is pleased to announce its inclusion in the CISA K-12 Online Toolkit. According to Markus Strauss, Chief Product Officer at Runecast, "By prioritizing the remediation of previously exploited vulnerabilities, organizations can effectively minimize the risk of a security breach. It's critical for CISOs and IT teams to proactively identify and remediate these vulnerabilities as a part of their regular security maintenance program."
The inclusion of Runecast in the CISA K-12 Online Toolkit highlights the importance of proactive approaches to cybersecurity. IT professionals are increasingly looking toward proactive platforms for vulnerability assessment, security compliance, configuration management and proactive ITOM. As well, organizations are beginning to consolidate their many disparate toolsets into single-platform solutions for proactively mitigating threats and ensuring compliance.
Runecast uses AI and machine learning algorithms to analyze your school's IT environment, identify potential security risks, and provide actionable recommendations for mitigating those risks. This software is easy to install and configure, and requires no prior cybersecurity expertise.
The recent cyber attacks on K-12 schools in the US serve as a reminder of the increasing importance of cybersecurity in education. As more schools move to online learning, the risks associated with cyber attacks also increase. It is critical that schools take proactive measures to protect their networks and data, including implementing multi factor authentication, regularly testing backups, and developing and exercising a cyber incident response plan.
In conclusion, the CISA K-12 Online Toolkit provides valuable resources and recommendations for IT professionals in the K-12 community to build, operate, and maintain resilient cybersecurity programs. The inclusion of Runecast in the toolkit highlights the importance of proactive approaches to cybersecurity and the need for organizations to consolidate their many disparate tool sets into single-platform solutions for proactively mitigating threats and ensuring compliance. The recent cyber attacks on K-12 schools serve as a reminder of the increasing importance of cybersecurity in education and the need for schools to take proactive measures to protect their networks and data.
By using Runecast, schools can protect their sensitive data, ensure compliance with data protection regulations, and avoid costly data breaches. With the ongoing threat of cyber attacks, it's crucial for schools to take cybersecurity seriously and implement robust security measures. Runecast can help schools achieve this goal and ensure the safety of their staff and students.