Special Report

K-12 Cybersecurity

Big Threats and Best Practices
March 19, 2019
Image shows a glowing futuristic background with lock on digital integrated circuit.
One of the biggest security threats school districts face isn’t posed by a physical intruder trying to come in through the front door, but by a faceless actor swarming them from cyberspace. Across the country, districts are scrambling to protect themselves from cyberattacks, coming in the form of phishing e-mails, malware, data breaches, and distributed denial-of-service attacks. Hackers may be interested in getting students’ personal information or employees’ financial documents, or worming their way into districts’ networks to launch attacks on another organization.
In this special report, Education Week delves into the nature of the threats facing K-12 systems and the steps they can take to protect themselves. The report includes a look at how districts in North Dakota—which are part of an online statewide network—are trying to protect themselves from cyberattacks; the results of an exclusive nationwide survey of K-12 districts’ cybersecurity protocols and weaknesses; a Q-and-A with a district tech leader that shows how her school system has trained its employees to recognize threats; and an examination of best practices for school systems to consider.