The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) is kicking off its 2021 Back to School campaign to help students, parents, teachers, and administrators remain safe from cybersecurity threats as they return to school. The campaign will run from August 9 until August 30.
In response to the rise in malicious cyber activity against K-12 and higher education institutions and the increase in remote learning, CISA is planning a comprehensive back to school cybersecurity awareness campaign to highlight the importance of cybersecurity and to build awareness of cyber risks in the school setting.
During this campaign, CISA will highlight ways students, parents, teachers and school administrators can stay safe online, avoid becoming victims of a cyberattack, and learn best practices to improve cyber hygiene. CISA has seen an increase in ransomware attacks against K-12 educational institutions. Malicious cyber actors target school computer systems, which can slow access to systems — rendering the systems inaccessible to basic functions, including remote learning.
Phishing attacks use email or malicious websites to infect machines with malware and viruses to collect personal and financial information. Cybercriminals use these attacks to entice users to click on a link or open an attachment that can then infect their computers, creating vulnerability to attacks. Our Phishing Tip Sheet has additional information on combating phishing.
We encourage everyone – students, parents, teachers, administrators and chief information security officers of school districts to review our recently released stopransomware.gov – a new website designed to help individuals and organizations prevent attacks that can severely impact business processes and leave organizations without the data they need to operate and deliver mission-critical services. The website contains special resources for K-12 to assist institutions with their unique cybersecurity needs and has a number of resources for schools to explore and reference to learn how to stay safe online.
We also encourage you to read a special blog from Eric Goldstein, Executive Assistant Director for Cybersecurity, which highlights why cyber hygiene for educational institutions is so vital.
Our world relies more heavily on technology for work and play and it is increasingly important that schools and academia prepare for potential threats from bad actors.
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