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US holds first ever cybersecurity summit on ransomware attacks on K12 Schools

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The United States government recently convened its inaugural cybersecurity summit to address the growing threat of ransomware attacks targeting K-12 schools. These attacks have resulted in the compromise of sensitive student information, such as medical records and academic performance data. The First Lady, Jill Biden, emphasized the importance of securing children’s personal data to safeguard their future.

According to research by security firm Emsisoft, 48 school districts fell victim to severe ransomware attacks in 2022. These attacks involved the theft of student and staff data, including social security numbers and salary account details. The attackers followed a pattern of stealing data and issuing threats to publish it online if their ransom demands were not met.

A report by the Government Accountability Office revealed that ransomware attacks had a significant impact on over 1.2 million students in 2020, coinciding with increased reliance on online education during the Covid-19 pandemic. The Center for Internet Security also found that one out of every three U.S. districts experienced breaches by the end of 2021.

During the cybersecurity summit, it was highlighted that ransomware groups have demanded varying amounts of ransom, ranging from $50,000 to $1 million from each victim. Approximately 21% of the affected parties complied and made the payment. As the new school year approaches, the White House is engaging in discussions to address concerns such as mitigating cyber attacks on educational institutions and advocating for stricter punitive measures against perpetrators.

Key Points:

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– Ransomware attacks on K-12 schools have compromised sensitive student information.
– The First Lady emphasized the need to secure children’s personal data.
– Ransomware attacks on school districts have increased, with data theft and ransom demands being common.
– The Covid-19 pandemic exacerbated the impact of ransomware attacks on online education.
– The White House is discussing measures to mitigate cyber attacks on educational institutions.

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