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article imageSchools forced to postpone after ransomware attacks Special

By Tim Sandle     Sep 9, 2020 in Technology
For many the school year has just begun. Not so in Hartford, Connecticut, where officials were forced to postpone the first day of the new school calendar year after a ransomware infection impacted the city's IT network.
According to area news relating to Hartford Public Schools, the school district serving the city of Hartford, the ransomware attack impacted several of the school's internal IT systems. The New York Times notes that this caused a prolonged outage.
Similarly, Newcastle University in the U.K. has also been hit by a cyberattack as the BBC reports. The type of malware that has infected the systems has yet to be disclosed by the university. However, cyber criminals have claimed responsibility for a ransomware attack against the university. In addition, the malicious actors are threatening to release the personal data of students.
Mike Riemer, Field CTO of Pulse Secure looks into the issue for Digital Journal.
According to Riemer, the schools sector presents a key target for hackers, given the size of the sector. He notes: "The start of the 2020-2021 school year, with millions of students across the U.S. resuming in-person and virtual learning, has just begun and already we have witnessed an immediate increase in cybersecurity attacks in the education sector."
Riemer adds: "The recent attacks occurring to the Hartford Public Schools and Newcastle University prove the education sector remains a lucrative target for cybercriminals and the industry as a whole must consider more progressive security controls as institutions, parents and students adapt to virtual learning."
In terms of actions that can be taken, Riemer says: "To thwart ransomware attacks and mitigate their impact, edtech companies and institutions should be more vigilant on security posture assessment and enhance Zero Trust access policies, such as multi-factor authentication and encrypted communications. The Zero Trust principle dictates that no connectivity is allowed until a user is authenticated, their endpoint is validated, and application access is verified for that individual, stopping cybercriminals from gaining access.”
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