Must Know Monday : Cyber Attacks in Education

When you think of who is targeted by cyberattacks, often we think of banks and major retailers.   Unfortunately, schools are not safe from these types of attacks either. Recently Manor ISD, near Austin, TX was targeted and fell for a phishing scam. 

A school district in Long Island was held hostage last summer, forcing them to pay $88,000 in cryptocurrency in order to retrieve student and staff information.  
While alarming, you may be wondering "what does that have to do with me? Doesn't the technology department protect us from this kind of thing?"  Yes and no.   Yes, there are many forms of protection such as firewalls and virus protection software provided, but cyber attacks can come through what is known as spear-phishing that will target the employees of targeted organizations.  Credible looking messages from known contacts or businesses include a link leading to malicious content that contains malware used to hack into the larger system.   
This isn't your typical scam email that should be easy to spot. Spear-phishing involves the hacker doing research on the target such as common contacts your emails are sent to and what subjects they may be about. Then emails are sent out that seem very legitimate at a quick glance.  
So remember, even though many harmful online security scenarios are prevented from reaching you every day by safety protocols are already in place by your district, security is still everyone's responsibility.