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The State of K-12 Cybersecurity: 2019 Year in Review...

Apr 2, 2020 8:00:00 AM

kid duct taped to the wall

The world's upside down right now, and people are really at their wits end. It's hard to find any normalcy in our day to day lives. Especially if you're working from home AND you have your kids there with you.

So, me talking about the state of K-12 cybersecurity, when we don't even know if the schools will open up again this year, may be a bit grating. But, the show must go on, and I too must try and strive for some normalcy. Plus you're a captive audience. You've got nowhere to go so I assume you'll be reading this, eyes glued to the screen.

So, without further ado, here's a brief summary of a report from K12Cybersecure.com

How Many Cyber-Attacks Were There Against Schools in 2019?*

  • 209 Unauthorized Disclosures/Breaches
  • 157 Ransomware Attacks
  • 105 Phishing Attacks
  • 4 Denial of Service Attacks
  • 45 other Incidents

Grand Total - 520 attacks

*You can find a detailed list at the end of this article that contains the names of each effected school district and a hyper-link to a summary of what happened in each district.

In comparison to 2018, that's 3x as many publicly disclosed attacks.

Key Takeaways:

  • Just over half (51%) of student and educator data breaches during 2019 were due to the actions (or inaction) of school vendors
  • Numerous school districts canceled classes and/or closed schools due to ransomware/malware incidents

Who was hit the hardest?

Cities, suburbs, towns, rural communities, all were targets last year.

  • Suburbs were hit the hardest
  • Schools with between 2,500 and 10,000 students were the most popular targets
  • Out of the four regions used in the study (Northeast, Southeast, Central and West), the Northeast was hit the hardest by cyberattacks

What can school districts do to avoid these attacks in the future?

  • Investing in greater IT security capacity dedicated to the unique needs of school districts.
  • Enacting federal and state school cybersecurity regulations to ensure baseline school district and vendor cybersecurity practices.
  • Supporting K-12-specific cybersecurity information sharing and research.
  • Investing in the development of K-12 specific cybersecurity tools.

School District List (Broken Down by Attack Vector)

Unauthorized Disclosures/Breaches

Dekalb County School District
Mandan Public School District
East Sac County Community School District
Broward County Public Schools
Amherst Exempted Village Schools
Marshall County Schools
Wetzel County Schools
Greenfield-Central Schools
Manchester School District SAU 37
Jersey City Public Schools
Orchard View Schools
Columbus City Schools
Elizabeth School District
Berkeley Public Schools
Arlington Public Schools
San Francisco Unified School District
Greenwich Public Schools
Chandler Unified School District
St. Vrain Valley Schools
Community High School District 117
Utica Community Schools
Edina Public Schools
Wake County Public School System
Wausau School District
Fox Chapel Area School District
Cherokee County School District
Woodland Joint Unified School District
Pflugerville Independent School District
Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District
Friendswood Independent School District
Midway Independent School District
Round Rock Independent School District
Lewisville Independent School District
Duncanville Independent School District
Garland Independent School District
Miller Place School District
Gates Chili Central School District
Paterson Public Schools
West Hartford Public Schools
Montgomery County Public Schools
Jefferson City Public Schools
Baltimore County Public Schools
Hopkins County Schools
Jersey City Public Schools
Scott County Schools
Fayette County Public Schools
Woodford County Public Schools
Jessamine County Schools
Placer Union High School District
Lorain City School District
Edcouch-Elsa Independent School District
Hawaiʻi State Department of Education
Laupahoehoe Community Public Charter School
Ke Kula Niihau o Kekaha Learning Center
Hawai’i Academy of Arts and Science
Kanuikapono Learning Center
Kua O Ka Lā
New Century Public Charter School
Kawaikini New Century Public Charter School
West Hawaii Explorations Academy
Kamaile Academy
Hawaii Technology Academy
Connections - New Century PCS
Ke Kula 'o Samuel M. Kamakau Laboratory Public Charter School
Wallingford Public Schools
Pomfret Community School
Shenandoah County Public Schools
Washoe County School District
River Trails School District 26
Westport Public Schools
Clark County School District
Greenville County Schools
Dekalb Community School District #428
Cincinnati Public Schools
Flagstaff Unified School District
Adams 12 Five Star Schools
Marion County Public Schools
Floyd County Schools
Brighton Central Schools
Brockport Central School District
East Irondequoit Central School District
Fairport Central School District
Pittsford Central School District
Rochester City School District
Rome City School District
Spencerport Central School District
Victor Central School District
Webster Central School District
West Irondequoit Central School District
Greece Central School District
Carmel Clay Schools
Wilmington Public Schools
School of the Osage School District
Mandan Public School District
Fargo Public Schools
West Fargo Public Schools
Solen School District #3
Dakota Prairie 1 School District
Wahpeton School District #37
Bismarck Public Schools
Bedford School District
School District of Milton
Thompson School District
Lee's Summit R-7 School District
West Shore School District
Chester County Intermediate Unit
Northern Lehigh School District
Gordon County Schools
Calhoun City Schools
Fayetteville-Manlius School District
Boulder Valley School District
Ellicottville Central Schools
Haldane Central School District
Lexington County School District One
Roaring Fork School District No. RE-1
Cortland Enlarged City School District
Syracuse City School District
Marcellus Central School District
Baldwinsville Central School District
Canastota Central School District
Lyncourt Union Free School District
Fabius-Pompey Central School District
Cazenovia Central School District
LaFayette Central School District
Chittenango Central School District
Jamesville-Dewitt Central School District
Liverpool Central School District
North Syracuse Central School District
Oneida City School District
Phoenix Central School District
Tully Central School District
Solvay Union Free School District
Port Byron Central School District
Skaneateles Central School District
Weedsport Central School District
Onondaga Central School District
Moravia Central School District
Westhill Central School District
West Genesee Central School District
Homer Central School District
Fredonia Central School District
Addison School District 4
District 300
Arbor Park School District 145
Butler School District 53
Casey-Westfield CUSD #C-4
Community Consolidated School District 89
Central School District 301
Diamond Lake School District 76
Downers Grove Grade School District 58
Elmhurst Community Unit School District 205
Fremont School District 79
Geneva School District 304
Genoa-Kingston CUSD #424
Glen Ellyn School District 41
Harlem School District 122
Indian Creek School District #425
Indian Prairie School District 204
Joliet Public Schools District 86
Joliet Township High School District 204
Kaneland Community Unit School District #302
Kinnikinnick School District
LaGrange Highlands School District 106
Lake Park High School District 108
Moline-Coal Valley School District No. 40
Naperville Community Unit School District 203
Northern Suburban Special Education District
Oak Grove School District 68
Prospect Heights District 23
Rochelle Community Consolidated School District #231
Serena CUSD #2
St. Charles CUSD 303
Waukegan Community Unit School District #60
West Chicago School District 33
Wheeling Community Consolidated District 21
Wilmette Public Schools
Valley View Community Unit School District 365U
Central Valley School District
Marathon Central School District
Bethlehem Central School District
Greenwood County School District 50
Groton Central School District
Salamanca City Central School District
Washoe County School District
Colorado Springs School District 11
Cherry Creek School District
Moorhead Area Public Schools Independent School District 152
Port Jefferson School District
Chicago Public Schools
Hinsdale School District
Area Special Education Cooperative
Edgerton School District
Westmoreland Central School District
Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Ostsego BOCES
Newfield Central School District
Montgomery County Public Schools
Round Rock Independent School District
Antioch School District 34
Downingtown Area School District
Lucia Mar Unified School District
Phoenix Elementary School District #1
Las Cruces Public Schools
Katy Independent School District
Milford Central School District
Mannheim School District 83
Naples Central School District
Cartersville City Schools
Seneca Falls Central School District
Hazelwood School District
Capistrano Unified School District


Ransomware Attacks

Spring Lake Park Schools
Pearland Independent School District
Horry County Schools
Rhinebeck Central School District
Cloquet Public Schools ISD94
Oxford School District
North East Independent School District
Kanawha County Schools
Riverdale School District
Region 11 Education Service Center
Valley Springs Schools
Hardin County School System
Alpena Public Schools
Lafayette Parish School System
Modesto City Schools
Kountze Independent School District
Pekin Community High School District 303
Brewer School Department
Mesquite Independent School District
Calallen Independent School District
DeWitt-Lavaca Special Education Cooperative
Sheridan School District No. 2
Milan Special School District
Dorchester School District Two
Hays Public Schools USD 489
San Ysidro School District
Kiski Area School District
Crab Orchard CUSD #3
J. Sterling Morton High School District 201
Jackson County Central School District
Alba-Golden Independent School District
Alvarado Independent School District
Argyle Independent School District
Big Sandy Independent School District
Boles Independent School District
Boyd Independent School District
Central Independent School District
Cleburne Independent School District
Corsicana Independent School District
Crowley Independent School District
Ennis Independent School District
Etoile Independent School District
Gilmer Independent School District
Gladewater Independent School District
Gunter Independent School District
Harleton Independent School District
Jean Massieu Academy
Karnack Independent School District
Keene Independent School District
Kennedale Independent School District
Krum Independent School District
Lake Dallas Independent School District
Melissa Independent School District
Neches Independent School District
New Diana Independent School District
Ore City Independent School District
Paradise Independent School District
Pilot Point Independent School District
Pineywoods Community Academy
Ponder Independent School District
Princeton Independent School District
Slidell Independent School District
Terrell Independent School District
Union Grove Independent School District
Union Hill Independent School District
Joint Jerome School School District #261
Proctor Public Schools
Maury County Public Schools
Chester County School District
Warrensburg R-VI School District
Middletown Public Schools
White County Schools
Cut Bank Public Schools
Leominster Public Schools
Roseburg Public Schools
Middletown Public Schools
Cloquet Public Schools ISD94
Monroe County School District
Johannesburg-Lewiston Area Schools
Bridgeport Public Schools
Crosby Independent School District
Park Rapids Area Schools
Taos Municipal Schools
Northwestern Consolidated School District of Shelby County
Sugar-Salem School District #322
Oklahoma City Public Schools
Papillion La Vista Community Schools
Syracuse City School District
Montebello Unified School District
Lyon County School District
Monroe City Schools
New Haven Public Schools
Watertown City School District
Gadsden Independent School District
Broken Arrow Public Schools
Camp Verde Unified School District
Glenwood Community School District
Blue Valley Schools
Wyoming Area School District
Moses Lake School District
Rockville Centre School District
Mineola Public Schools
Lansing Central School District
New Kent County School District
Wolcott Public Schools
North Lamar Independent School District
Monroe Township School District
Monroe-Woodbury Central School District
Souderton Area School District
Flagstaff Unified School District
The Sherman School
Montauk Public Schools
Rockford Public School District 205
Wakulla County School District
Thompson Falls School District #2
Wallenpaupack Area School District
Ava R-1 School District
Mobile County Public Schools
Guthrie Public Schools
Platte County R-3 School District
Smyth County Public Schools
Houston County School District
Jim Thorpe Area School District
Cherry Hill Public Schools
San Bernardino City Unified School District
Calhoun County School District
Las Cruces Public Schools
Lincoln County School District
Watertown Public Schools
Wood County Schools
Port Neches-Groves Independent School District
Chicopee Public Schools
Claremont Unified School District
Livingston Public Schools
Clever R-V School District
Sycamore Community School District 427
Maine School Administrative District 6
Sunapee School District | SAU 85
Tulare Joint Union High School District
Richmond Community Schools
Remsenburg-Speonk Union Free School District
Pittsburg Unified School District
Panama-Buena Vista Union School District
St. Landry Parish School System
Carpinteria Unified School District
Community High School District 155
Bainville School District
Allegheny Intermediate Unit
Havre Public Schools
Nacogdoches Independent School District
South Adams Schools
San Felipe Del Rio CISD
Gadsden Independent School District
Spartanburg School District One
Burke County Public Schools
Alleghany County School District
Mitchell County Schools


Phishing Attacks

Olympia School District
School District of Manatee County
Corsicana Independent School District
Argyle Independent School District
Tipton County Schools
Lexington School District Two
Mercedes Independent School District
Mercer County Public Schools
Davidson County Schools
Belton Independent School District
Brunswick School Department
Bloomington Public Schools
Dracut Public Schools
Odessa R-VIII School District
Morton District 709
Hudson City School District
Maine School Administrative District 4
Concord School District
Lawrence Public Schools
Sequoia Union High School District
Washington Elementary School District
Barron Area School District
Mount Healthy City Schools
Abernathy Independent School District
Independence School District
Redmond School District
Black River Falls School District
Trenton R-IX School District
Yukon Public Schools
Groton Public Schools
Arkansas City USD 460
Ben Bolt - Palito Blanco Independent School District
Powhatan County Public Schools
Walton County School District
Cleveland Metropolitan School District
East Baton Rouge Parish School System
Denver Public Schools
Ames Community School District
Tyler Independent School District
Glastonbury Public Schools
West Milford Township School District
Pascack Valley Regional High School District
Neligh-Oakdale Public Schools
Mehlville School District
Boston Public Schools
Boulder Valley School District
Atlanta Public Schools
Fulton County Schools
Clayton County Public Schools
Fargo Public Schools
Baltimore City Public Schools
Anne Arundel County Public Schools
Monticello Central School District
Purchase Line School District
Rockdale Independent School District
Scottsboro City School System
Fredericksburg City Schools
Jefferson County Schools
Great Falls Public Schools
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools
St. Johns County School District
Henderson Independent School District
Johnston County Public Schools
Bonneville Joint School District No. 93
Chesapeake Public Schools
Teton School District 401
Teton School District 401
Caddo Parish Public Schools
Magnolia School of Excellence / Shreveport Charter Foundation, Inc. / Charter Schools USA
Crowley Independent School District
Loudonville-Perrysville Exempted Village Schools
Anchorage School District
North Beach School District
Centinela Valley Union High School District
Dayton Public Schools
Aurora City School District
Thomas County Schools
Carmel Unified School District
Clovis Municipal Schools
Santa Fe Public Schools
New Mexico Public Education Department
Newport School District
Toltec School District
Scott County Schools
Norwalk Public Schools
Norwalk Public Schools
Middletown City (OH) School District
Guilford County Schools
Cabarrus County Schools
Encore High School for the Arts – Riverside
Spotsylvania County Public Schools
Portland Public Schools
Roswell Independent School District
Tukwila School District
Wilton Public Schools
Weston Public Schools
Regional School Unit 13
Hinsdale Township High School District 86
Manor Independent School District
Sumter County Public Schools
Salem School District (SAU57)
Trenton Public Schools
Jackson Public Schools
San Felipe Del Rio CISD
West Allis-West Milwaukee School District


Denial of Service Attacks

Secaucus Public School District
Albuquerque Public Schools
Rio Rancho Public Schools
Baker County School District


Other Incidents

Newfane Central School District
Mt. Zion Community Unit School District #3
Lynn Public Schools
Sylvan Union School District
Johnsonburg Area School District
Challis School District 181
Hendry County District Schools
Coventry Local Schools
Yankton School District
Coventry Public Schools
Lafayette Parish School System
Houston County Schools
Sabine Parish School District
Morehouse Parish Schools
Tangipahoa Parish School System
Geneva City Schools
Morris Jeff Community School
Clyde - Green Springs Schools
San Dieguito Union High School District
Ridgway Area School District
Nampa School District 131
Lynbrook Public Schools
Kenosha Unified School District
Wallenpaupack Area School District
Wolcott Public Schools
Jackson County School District
Volusia County Schools
Montrose County School District RE-1J
Lanett City School District
Northshore School District
Sierra Vista Unified School District
South Knox School Corporation
Blue Earth Area Public Schools
Bethel Public Schools
Cuero Independent School District
Chester Union Free School District
Foxborough Regional Charter School
East Greenbush Central School District
Allendale County Schools
Sag Harbor Union Free School District
Sheridan County School District #3
Penn-Harris-Madison School Corporation
Bixby Public Schools
Sharon City School District
Issaquah School District 411


Conclusion

There's a lot more in the report (which I'll link to here again: K12Cybersecure.com) and it's a pretty interesting read. The kids might not be in school right now or for the foreseeable future, but it doesn't mean we can't take this time to help keep them safe when they are back at school.

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Carl Keyser

Written by Carl Keyser

Experienced Marketer & Graphic Designer. Professional skilled in Graphics, Branding & Identity, Typography, Adobe Creative Suite, Google Analytics, Google AdWords and HubSpot Inbound Marketing .

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