Amid a growing reliance on technology due to the coronavirus pandemic, cyberattacks have become a growing threat to schools across the United States – leading to school shutdowns and to demands for more funding to address the problem.
Starting last year, when many schools were more dependent on technology in order to conduct virtual learning due to pandemic shutdowns, several high-profile incidents were reported, leading school officials to scramble to recover data or even manually wipe all laptops.
“Pretty much any way that you cut it, incidents have both been growing more frequent and more significant,” Doug Levin, director of the K12 Security Information Exchange, a Virginia-based nonprofit that helps schools defend against cybersecurity risk, told The Associated Press.
Precise data is hard to come by since most schools are not required to publicly report cyberattacks. But experts have said public school systems — which often have limited budgets for cybersecurity expertise — have become an inviting target for ransomware gangs.