Cryptomining is a new threat to K-12 schools
Tuesday, November 27, 2018
The FBI has issued a warning for the nation’s K-12 schools amid the increasing threats to student data privacy. As we rapidly move to all-digital education platforms, cybersecurity attacks on education technology companies have risen. Ed-tech companies and schools must take extra precautions to protect student data.
Ed-tech-based teaching has become an integral part of teaching for most schools. However, that has opened access to various student information via companies’ databases.
People with malicious intent can now hack into students’ personally identifiable information, biometrics, and their geolocations. As the FBI reported, student data is more vulnerable and are frequent targets for cybercriminals. Schools utilizing education technology must double down on cybersecurity to protect their students.
Along with these attacks, increasing instances of cryptomining are posing another new threat to K-12 schools. IT managers for K-12 schools and school districts need to ensure that their anti-malware tools are updated to handle the increasingly sophisticated attacks.
Cryptomining involves someone else downloading malware to a machine they don’t own and using it to make money for themselves.
Initially, these malicious actors would crack into Windows and infect the whole PC. For the most part, the usual malware tools could detect and block these harmful programs.
For K-12 IT managers, solving this problem mean customizing their anti-malware tools so that their preferred ed-tech products includes maximum coverage for both traditional malware and in-browser mining tools. Schools also need to launch a user education campaign and inform students and parents about the dangers of malware.
Regular notifications will prevent incidents like the one faced by a school in the Rochester Community School District in Michigan. A middle-school student, along with his friends, gained improper administrative access to the district's IT system.
They installed software on the district's computer system that, among other things, allowed the students to mine for cryptocurrency. The students got caught, suspended and expelled for their actions.
With proper warning, others who are of the same bent of mind can behave more responsibly and be spared from expulsion. While cryptomining at colleges across the United States is now rampant, tech-savvy K-12 students like these are not too far behind.
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