Circling Back: Preparing for the Wave of Cyberattacks on Schools

Libraries need to be proactive about cyber security.

There’s nothing sexy about network security. It isn’t the chimera of ethical issues, technological potential, and personal anxiety of ChatGPT. It isn’t the excitement of teaching a class or interacting with students. It isn’t the creative thinking and design work of UX. Indeed, it usually falls into the oft-maligned category of maintenance labor, which as Meredith Farkas argued in her recent piece, “Building a Better Library Tech Future through Slow Librarianship,” is frequently devalued by career incentives yet central to the work of libraries. 

One reason why security falls to the wayside is that it may be more the domain of IT departments than libraries proper. But there’s good reason for libraries, as stewards of so much information, to think hard about their security practices ahead of the new school year. Increasingly, schools are the target of cyberattacks. The Biden-Harris administration recently declared its commitment to bolstering cybersecurity in K–12 schools after an uptick of cyberattacks, which forced four school districts to cancel classes or close completely in the past year. The stakes can be high. The administration’s report claims that “the loss of learning following a cyberattack ranged from three days to three weeks, and recovery time can take anywhere from two to nine months.” 

It’s naïve to believe that universities will be immune to this wave of cyberattacks affecting K–12 schools. Existing security systems must be strengthened with good security practices. For that reason, we wanted to revisit this conversation we had with Alan Brill, Senior Managing Director in the Cyber Risk practice at Kroll, on our award-winning podcast, The Authority File. In this episode, Brill explains why universities have become targets of cyberattacks and how to take proactive steps to mitigate security risks. It’s well worth the listen!

About the guest:

Alan Brill is a Senior Managing Director in the Cyber Risk practice of Kroll, and a fellow of the Kroll Institute. He is a well-known expert in cybersecurity and computer forensics, and is the author or co-author of many books and articles. His work in this field spans four decades. He was the founder of Kroll’s cyber practice and has worked on cyber issues in both the public and private sectors. He formerly served as a Director in the New York City Department of Investigation, a Major in the Army and he worked at the NASA Manned Spacecraft Center in Houston during the Apollo moon landing project.

Alan teaches in the Terrorist Use of Cyberspace program of the NATO Center of Excellence for Defense Against Terrorism and is an Adjunct Professor in the LLM and M.Jur programs of the Texas A&M University School of Law.

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🎧 Like what you hear? Check out The Authority File podcast.

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