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Data Breaches Information about Data Breaches Phishing Information about Phishing Ransomware Information about Ransomware

Minimize exposure to cyberattacks and build secure and resilient K-12 cyber systems.

Cyberattacks and online threats are an increasingly significant and widespread problem for K-12 schools and school districts. Educational institutions can be a lucrative and vulnerable target for malicious cyber actors because they maintain sensitive student and staff data and personal information, utilize multiple forms of technologies to facilitate learning, and often lack resources to put in place comprehensive cybersecurity programs. Students are also spending more time online than ever before, using technology to complete homework, communicate with peers, and engage with teachers and school staff. 

K-12 cyber threats can include unauthorized disclosures or data breaches, ransomware attacks, phishing attempts, and denial-of-service attacks. These incidents can have significant impacts on schools, making critical systems inaccessible, exposing sensitive personal information, putting confidential school plans and data at risk, and disrupting school operations. Cyberattacks can also result in high financial costs for school districts and the loss of learning for students.

Strategies to Consider

There are several strategies schools and districts can implement to strengthen their cybersecurity posture and protect against current and future digital threats. Some of these measures include:

  • Practice and provide training on good cyber hygiene. This includes recognizing and reporting phishing attempts, using strong passwords, turning on multifactor authentication, and keeping software updated.
  • Establish and exercise a cyber incident response plan outlining what should be done before, during, and after a cyber incident.
  • Implement well-informed processes when new technologies are adopted within the school environment.
  • Stay informed on the cyber risk environment and connect with K-12 cyber partners who can help provide strategic and cost-efficient cybersecurity actions.
  • Invest in the most impactful security measures and build towards a more mature cybersecurity program for the future.

Filter Resources

All Cybersecurity Resources

Access additional resources below to learn more about K-12 cybersecurity and related best practices. Use the filters to sort resources based on subtopic and/or preparedness action.

CoSN’s NIST Cybersecurity Framework Resources Alignment for K-12 

Third Party

This webpage aligns a variety of free and Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) member resources with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Cybersecurity Framework, which provides a structured approach for organizations to protect their digital assets. Schools and districts can use the page to find resources to build and expand their cybersecurity programs, fortify their cyber defenses, and better safeguard against evolving digital threats.
K-12 Digital Infrastructure Brief: Privacy Enhancing, Interoperable, and Useful

Department of Education, 2023

This brief discusses prioritizing privacy and ensuring data protection measures so that schools can build trust with stakeholders and maintain the confidentiality and integrity of sensitive student data. It includes information on the implementation of data interoperability standards to allow the seamless exchange of data between different edtech applications and systems. This publication is part of a series of briefs on the key considerations facing educational leaders as they work to build and sustain core digital infrastructure for learning.
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