Cyberattacks have been put into the spotlight in recent years with breaches on everything from financial institutions to hotel chains. And while cyberattacks on major corporations may make sense as far as their financial assets, attacks on other industries might not seem like they’re as much of a target. But with a recent attack on multiple Louisiana school districts, the education system is the latest industry to be in the crosshairs.
The Louisiana Department of Education has recently released new information regarding the cyberattacks that went after multiple school systems in the state. Some systems were attacked by cybercriminals who go after any target, both large and small. The main thing they’re trying to get is information and to infiltrate an IT infrastructure for the sake of encrypting all data.
Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards made a statement on July 24, declaring a state of emergency for the southern state in response to cybersecurity breaches affecting schools in Monroe, Morehouse Parish, and Sabine Parish.
Edwards said that “there have been severe, intentional cybersecurity breaches in the Sabine, Morehouse, and City of Monroe school systems that may potentially compromise other public and private entities throughout the State of Louisiana.
But those three areas weren’t the only ones hit by the cyber attackers as leaders from Tangipahoa Parish schools said officials also discovered suspicious activity on their network, similar to other reported attacks on school systems throughout the state. Over in Madison Parish, officials said they were taking their system offline to avoid any further or possible attacks from outside sources.
Cyberattacks against schools have been ticking up in recent years, and not just in Louisiana. In fact, multiple states have had to deal with these cybersecurity issues. In Connecticut, cyberattacks cut down internet connection to a school system in Avon over a six-week period at several different times a day. No sensitive information was captured, but the threat that an outside attacker or attackers could infiltrate the system and cause a network for a school to go offline could have massive effects if prolonged.
In Ohio, the Coventry local school system had to close its schools as FBI agents and cyber coders worked to find the culprit of its own cyberattack. And for school systems that do not have some type of cyber insurance, it could not only be costly in terms of loss of information but also in loss of finances to make up for repairs.
Last fall, the FBI issued a public service announcement warning against widespread collection of student information and data, including education progress reports and classroom activities. This kind of data could have an effect on privacy and safety is compromised.
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