School Hacking. Or Don’t.
School Hacking. Or don’t because it is illegal, causes huge issues for schools, colleges and universities and the people involved. Schools and Universities are a major target for hackers because of the lack of cybersecurity measures, and this is not just a problem in the U.S.
Schools and universities in China, Europe, Canada, Australia, and India have all been hacked in recent years. Worries of school hacking are particularly high in the US, where nearly half of US States, as well as the Federal Government are either have or are considering legislation that would deter schools from using technology without cybersecurity measures.
Some states are taking action against schools and universities that don’t use security to protect their networks. In January 2018, Arizona passed legislation that mandates that all public schools use two-factor authentication (2FA) on any system or network connected to a device they own. Many other States are now in a race to get on the cybersecurity train as fast as possible, where funding exists to do so.
For example, in North Carolina, Universities implementing mandates to use two factor authentication (2FA) for students applying to schools, and in school. Maryland lawmakers recently signed into law that requires schools to notify parents of any data breach or threat after a cyberattack occurs. Despite these types legislation, hackers are still able to successfully breach education systems by tricking school administrators into clicking on malicious links or opening phishing emails that appear to come from trusted sources.
CISA also recommends that school systems should implement multi-factor authentication as well as two-step verification for email access, and install software to detect and block malicious URLs. chat sites, file-sharing sites, and spam websites. Most States also require schools to report cyber incidents that involve a breach of information or loss of services.
There are many ways that hackers can attack school systems. Nation states, hacking cartels, individual hackers, disgruntled employees, failed students and others. One way is to attack the data on the system’s hard drives with ransomware. This forces schools to pay up or lose access to their data through encryption not controlled by the school. Another way is through phishing scams where hackers send emails to teachers and staff with links that lead to malware-laden sites that steal credentials or install malware on their computers. A third way is through brute-force attacks, which can be successful if school systems have weak passwords or no password at all.
There are many different vulnerabilities that can be exploited. Just for example, one of these is the attack known as “transient RSA-CRT collision”. This vulnerability allows anyone to forge a valid SSL certificate for the school’s domain name and intercept or manipulate traffic on all website servers with minimal setup. This vulnerability is also referred to as “man in the middle” attack. Other vulnerabilities include weak passwords, shared passwords, and outdated software that can allow hackers to gain access without much effort.
Schools maintain a web server or several in addition to non web servers handling non transmitted data. A hacker can use open source information, and other knowledge (incuding social engineering) to gain access to the school’s server. by following a few easy steps.1. The hacker can find the IP addresses of the school’s web servers by using a web browser to view the website. 2. The next step is to build a request, which is sent to a port on the localhost, where the server is listening for connections on the port ( say 10000, an ordinary network address). If successful, this will return a response from the web server.
Kids, don’t try this at home. In many States it is a felony to attempt to hack a government system, including schools.
The problems don’t stop there: once a system has been hacked it can lead to reputation problems for the school as well as harm for parents, students, and teachers. If a school’s computer system is hacked the website, email other systems that students use to get in touch with their teachers could be littered with pornographic images, information about drugs and other criminal activity. The school’s reputation could be irreparably damaged. Hackers are also highly capable at finding ways to get around school-mandated safety measures, like the need to have a password on a device– for example by hacking into the webcam on one device and using it as a way to spy on students.
This is why, as a nation, we need to invest more in cybersecurity and cyber awareness programs for schools. Additionally, we need to think about how to fill a current worker shortage for trained cybersecurity workers that is well over a half a million unfilled position in the U.S. alone. The future of our children’s safety is at stake. But so is the safety of parents, teachers, contractors and vendors to the school system that got hacked. The school system that got hacked is used to being seen as the victim. Schools have to go through an arduous process of removing whatver malware caused the disruption and working towards restoring service.
School systems are weak targets for hackers. There is little or no cybersecurity team, and the school system is not a top priority for other defenders. Schools are seen as a low-risk target because they don’t have the resources to defend themselves, and often will pay the ransom out of fear of public retaliation for failure. School systems are weak targets for hackers. There is often little or no cybersecurity team, and the school system is not a top priority for other defenders.
Educators are typically not trained in the same ways that other organizations would be, and this means that there is often a lack of basic security measures such as two-factor authentication and or multifactor authentication. This makes it easy for hackers to get in, particularly if they’re dedicated with time to spend on the issue. A possible solution: Some educators may be placed in the role of a “Security Coordinator” who is hired by the district and tasked with this responsibility. If not educators themselves getting crosstrained, than school districts have to fundamentally rethink security budgets, and more has to be put in cyber and reputation protections immediately.
Hackers can use ransomware to demand money from schools in exchange for not releasing private information about their students and teachers. They can also steal data from school systems and sell it on the dark web. The reputation of schools can be harmed when this happens, which in turn harms parents, students, teachers, etc. Ransomware can also be used to take down the systems of school vendors so they cannot function. For example, a hacker might use ransomware to demand money from a company in exchange for not releasing private information about their employees.
The problem of hacking with school systems is becoming more and more prevalent. Hackers target schools because they are a weak target with little or no cybersecurity team, which leads to data theft, reputation problems for schools, and harm to parents, students, and teachers.
School systems are one of the most targeted by hackers due tothe low risk of getting caught. Schools are particularly vulnerable to hacking because they often use outdated IT systems that are not as secure as more modern ones.
Hackers often target universities because they want access to their research data and information on students, faculty and staff. Universities are also vulnerable because many schools don’t have strong security systems in place for their networks and servers which makes them more susceptible to cyberattacks.
Ransomware is a type of malware that locks up your computer and demands a ransom in order to unlock it. It’s typically delivered through an email attachment or a link in an email. Hackers will then try to extort money from their victims by asking for payment in cryptocurrency, such as Bitcoin, or something else valuable like iTunes cards.
The hacking of a school system is not only a problem for the school, but also for all the students, faculty and staff. The attack can lead to data theft, ransom demands, and reputation problems. This is because schools are more vulnerable due to the explosion in IoT devices and personal devices used on and off campus. Schools are also more vulnerable due to remote access via social media. Additionally due to the ways universities collaborate with other research intitutions, governments and companies alike, they are often deep pools of data and data interchange, that could bring big money to bad actors on the outside. Some research can lead to patents, or even billions in royalties, depending on the univeristy and the type of research. There are also significant national security concerns given how many universities collaborate with government research labs, and the military or intelligence worlds.
The problem of hacking with school systems leads to many different problems – from data theft to ransom demands – and this is just one example of how hacking can affect people in different ways.