On August 7, the White House will convene education and tech officials to launch a new cybersecurity defense initiative for America’s school systems.
School systems across the country are increasingly falling victim to crippling ransomware attacks. Securing public school information systems is critical as a cyber intrusion can be very disruptive and jeopardize sensitive information, harming critical education infrastructure and interrupting learning.
According to education reporting and analysis site The74:
Schools are now the single leading target for hackers, outpacing health care, technology, financial services and manufacturing industries, according to a global survey of IT professionals released last month by the British cybersecurity company Sophos.
The Biden-Harris Administration is tackling the issue head-on. On August 7, the White House is hosting a “Back to School Safety: Cybersecurity Summit” with leaders to address the issue. The event description states:
First Lady Jill Biden joins Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas, school administrators, educators, and education technology providers from across the country for the Back to School Safely: Cybersecurity Summit for K-12 Schools.
According to The74, the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) at the summit will launch a coordinating council to “provide formal collaboration between government officials and district leaders to help schools strengthen their cybersecurity capabilities in the face of attacks that have closed campuses and exposed highly sensitive student and educator information online.”
The council is being billed as the department’s ‘key first step’ in a renewed focus on cybersecurity after multiple districts — including in Los Angeles and Minneapolis — were targeted by cyber gangs.
Anne Neuberger, the deputy national security advisor for cyber and emerging technologies, said the administration seeks to help school districts protect sensitive information about students, parents and educators.
The August 7 Back to School Safely: Cybersecurity Summit will start at 4 pm EST and can be live-streamed online.
Summit participants will include First Lady Dr. Jill Biden, U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, and Federal Communications Commission Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel.