Jan 07 2022

Federal Government Addresses Cybersecurity in K–12 Schools

Under the K–12 Cybersecurity Act, the government will study cyber risks in schools and create security guidelines.

The federal government is taking a closer look at K–12 cybersecurity. Last fall President Joe Biden signed the K–12 Cybersecurity Act, which gives the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency 120 days to study the cyber risks facing K–12 schools and recommend voluntary guidelines to help schools improve their cybersecurity posture.

The Department of Education Is Called to Act

The U.S. Government Accountability Office released a report in November calling on the U.S. Department of Education to update its 2010 plan for defending against cyberthreats. According to the report, the DOE is “responsible for (1) developing and maintaining a sector-specific plan to address cybersecurity risks at K–12 schools, and (2) determining the need for sector-specific guidance.”

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The GAO says the cybersecurity risks facing schools have “substantially changed” and without an updated plan, “K–12 schools are less likely to have the federal products, services and support that can best help protect them from cyberattacks.”

K–12 Cybersecurity Is a Complicated Issue

These efforts seek to boost federal support at a time when cyberattacks against K–12 institutions have been trending upward. According to Doug Levin, national director of the K12 Security Information Exchange and founder of the K–12 Cybersecurity Resource Center, schools faced a record 408 cybersecurity incidents in 2020 alone.

Cybersecurity is “a complicated issue, and I don’t think there are a lot of easy solutions,” he told Politico in response to the passing of the K–12 Cybersecurity Act.

KEEP READING: Outsource cybersecurity expertise in K–12 schools with a vCISO.

Getty Images/WIN-Initiative, Antonio Solano

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