A report earlier this year revealed that 2020 marked a record-breaking year for cyberattacks against schools. The trend, however, continues this year; a barrage of attacks has already targeted several K-12 schools.

Some recent attacks

U.S. schools are facing an emerging threat of cyber invasions from interruptions in online classes to data theft.
  • Judson Independent School District was targeted by a ransomware group last month. Recently, it confirmed paying a ransom to the attackers.
  • Around June end, the Massena school district disclosed a cyberattack incident that knocked its IT network offline.
  • California’s Sierra College was targeted in May by ransomware actors.

A lackadaisical approach to secure networks

Last week, New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli released a school audit report for Watervliet City School District of Albany County and Westhill Central School District of Onondaga County highlighting flaws in their systems.
  • District officials of both the schools reportedly failed to secure their IT networks, risking personal, private, and sensitive information.
  • Watervliet City School District authorities were found operating with dozens of dormant accounts with no written procedures for managing and monitoring user access.
  • In addition to the above, the audit at Westhill Central School District discovered personal internet activity by employees, along with unwanted administrative permissions.


Back-to-back reports have highlighted how many districts still lack the IT staff and security protocols needed to withstand modern cybersecurity threats. The pandemic can only be held partly accountable for unsecured networks. The rest depends entirely on school administration and other stakeholders associated with it.

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