Curmudgucation: New Cyber-Incident Map

Doug Levin at EdTech Strategies has compiled an interesting/alarming new resource. It's a map of school-related cyber incidents.

Levin notes that between " January 1, 2016 to August 31, 2017, U.S. K-12 public schools and districts were reported to have experienced at least 202 separate cyber security-related incidents resulting in the disclosure of personal information, the loss of taxpayer dollars, and the loss of instructional time." Plus some involved identity theft and criminal charges. This screenshot gives you an idea-- for the fully interactive map, follow the link.

Way to go, North and South Dakota

 

While many of us are worried about corporate players with their own nefarious purposes (just what DOES Google intend to do with the giant ocean of data they harvest via their many school-related apps), schools are vulnerable to the same issues as every other wired-up, plugged-in organization-- hackers, cyber-attacks, and sloppy maintenance of security. Since school districts are often in no position to win biding wars for top IT talent, one can argue that educational networks are often staffed by folks who are not necessarily the top talent in the field.

But schools remain a treasure trove of identity information about children, who are excellent targets for identity theft (your eight year old probably won't notice a bunch of faux consumer activity being perpetrated in her name). On top of that, we have the expected level of prankery (one school system's network was hacked in order to make everyone look at a "nude image") and stuff I wouldn't have expected-- I would not have thought anyone would care to launch a denial of service attack against a school, but imagine the consequences if one were launched during on-line testing time.

The map is a quick, handy guide to what's happening out there, and Levin provides links for those who want to contribute to the database. It's one more useful resource for getting a clearer picture of what's happening. 

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Peter Greene

Peter Greene has been a high school English teacher in Northwest Pennsylvania for over 30 years. He blogs at Curmudgucation.