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FBI, CISA, MS-ISAC: Cybercriminals Increasingly Attacking K-12 Distance Learning

Ransomware attacks reported against US K–12 schools jumped from 28% in January through July to 57% in August and September.

The FBI, the Department of Homeland Security's Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), and the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center (MS-ISAC) this week warned of a major uptick in cyberattacks — ransomware, distributed denial-of-service, malware, and videoconference session disruptions — in K–12 distance-learning education.

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In August and September 2020, 57% of ransomware incidents reported to MS-ISAC were against K–12 schools, up from 28% in January through July 2020. 

"Cyber actors likely view schools as targets of opportunity, and these types of attacks are expected to continue through the 2020/2021 academic year. These issues will be particularly challenging for K–12 schools that face resource limitations; therefore, educational leadership, information technology personnel, and security personnel will need to balance this risk when determining their cybersecurity investments," according to an alert issued by the FBI, CISA, and MS-ISAC.

Ryuk, Maze, Nefilim, AKO, and Sodinokibi/REvil are the most common forms of ransomware being used in the K–12 attacks this year. 

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Robert Lemos, Contributing Writer, Dark Reading
Robert Lemos, Contributing Writer, Dark Reading
Dark Reading Staff, Dark Reading
Jai Vijayan, Contributing Writer, Dark Reading