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K-12 Cyber Maturity Improving, but Still Lags Other Sectors

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Ransomware on a student's laptop screen.

Several school districts around the U.S. have been hit with ransomware as a difficult school year begins.

Credit: Getty Images/Scoop News Group

Cybersecurity capabilities across K-12 schools improved slightly during the 2021-22 school year, with many districts focusing more acutely on identity management and cyber hygiene training, according to a report published Monday by the Center for Internet Security.

But even with those gains, the education sector's cyber maturity still lags behind most other parts of government and the economy, with schools continuing to face a glut of ransomware attacks and dearths of funding and personnel. Nearly one-fifth of K-12 districts nationwide commit less than 1% of their overall technology budgets to cybersecurity, and many districts are still not availing themselves of low-cost and free services that could fill the gaps, the report found.

"We know based on experience, schools are an attractive target for ransomware, because it can be so impactful. The cyber criminals are looking for those kinds of targets," said Karen Sorady, vice president for member engagement at the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center, which is run out of CIS's offices in Upstate New York.

From StateScoop
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