Human error to blame in vast majority of education data breaches

Mark Satter reports:

The nation relies on teachers to educate our children and help them when they make mistakes. But when it comes to protecting students’ data, it is often the teachers and school staff who mistakenly let bad actors in to school computer systems, officials say.

In a hearing Thursday before the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, a panel of educators, privacy experts and U.S. Department of Education officials pointed to accidental online errors by school staff as the main threat to protecting school data.

In the state of Kentucky, which experienced more than 4 billion attempted attacks on the computer systems of K-12 services last year, the greatest number of data breaches were the result of staff who fell for email phishing scams, according to David Couch, CIO for the Kentucky Education Technology System (KETS) at the Kentucky Department of Education.

“By far the greatest vulnerability to our systems is internal staff who fall victim to phishing attempts,” Couch said during the hearing.

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