Auditor General urges state to invest in cybersecurity for school districts
Auditor General Eugene DePasquale on Thursday urged legislators to invest in helping school districts strengthen cybersecurity as part of the next state budget.
DePasquale said that despite a 2017 survey by his office showing a majority of Pennsylvania school districts were concerned about the increased risk of cyber attacks, no action has been taken at the state level.
“With the number of cyber attacks continuing to rise, the state should make sure school districts have the resources they need to protect themselves,” said DePasquale. “A comprehensive approach to the problem would especially help medium- and small-sized districts shore up their defenses.
“Ransomware, which holds computer systems hostage until a payment is made to the hacker, could push a school district in a dire financial crisis.”
DePasquale pointed to a February malware attack on a school district in Perry County as an example of the growing risks districts face. Newport School District had issues after an emailed virus compromised the computers of several staff members. Student data was not compromised.
DePasquale encouraged district administrators to contact their legislators to ask for a statewide cybersecurity funding stream.
“A failure to invest now could end up being more expensive in the long run,” he said.
Paul Guggenheimer is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Paul at 724-226-7706 or [email protected].