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Protecting Our Kids and Data: Ransomware in Education

Concerning Trends

No one is immune from the outcomes of disasters, whether natural or man-made, so the question is, what are you doing to proactively address this. For the education sector, the dangers have grown exponentially with increasingly sophisticated cyber attacks on data security and IT infrastructures.

Specifically, ransomware attacks in education increased 388% from Q3 2019 to Q3 2020 with an average ransomware demand hit $312,493 according to a report by Unit 42, a division of cybersecurity company Palo Alto Networks, compared to that average in 2019, which was $115, 123.

Another report by BlueVoyant, a cybersecurity services company analyzed over 2,700 universities from more than 40 countries and found that ransomware attacks were doubling from 2019 to 2020 with an average cost of $447,000 per attack.

In other research, education was one of the top 2 or 3 most targeted sectors with those located in the US, UK, France, and Canada being at the highest risk compared to the rest of the world.

The types of attacks have also evolved to become more sophisticated as evidence of the increasing use of double-extortion strategy. This type of ransomware attack not only encrypts the school’s data but also threatens to release it to the public if the ransom is not paid.

Real World Examples:

Recent ransomware attacks in 2021 within primary and higher education include:

  • Victor Central School District (NY) – forced school closure by encrypting school data and locking users out of the system
  • Buffalo Public Schools (NY) – attack shut down systems across the district caused thousands of students to abandon classroom learning
  • University of Maryland – saw sensitive data (PPI) such as SSN, address, date of birth, and passport numbers leaked online
  • University of California, San Francisco – forced to pay $1.14 million from a ransomware attack that threatened to release sensitive and personal data from the institution’s school of medicine

A Call for Action

The increase in ransomware attacks in education brings a sense of urgency to mitigation strategies for reducing the chance for these attacks to occur in the first place and increased focus on what to do if they occur.

To reduce the risk associated with these attacks, most security professionals agree that institutions need a comprehensive disaster recovery plan that includes both knowledgeable security consultants on call and IT solutions that automate multiple backups of data to the cloud.

Therefore, identifying the technology solution that both meets stringent budgetary requirements of educational institutions and efficiently manages these important cloud backups is critical.

Empowerment and Transformation

Rubrik and Wasabi have partnered to provide comprehensive data backup solutions that address risks to critical data with unlimited access to storage whenever you need it, at the lowest cost possible.

It’s an unparalleled solution that provides proven return on investment and reduced downtime from ransomware attacks. Backup your critical data to a fast and affordable cloud service that allows you to maintain your data accessibility during attacks, while mitigating risk and data loss.

Gain peace of mind for your students, faculty and staff, with a simple, straight-forward, cost effective solution designed to work when you most need it.

To learn more about this joint solution and better together strategy helps one school district in Northern California, click here.

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