News & Trends

Poughkeepsie SD gets financial boost from IBM to beef up cybersecurity


News 12 Staff

Jun 03, 2021, 5:33pm EDT

Updated on:Jun 03, 2021, 5:33pm EDT

Amid a spate of ransomware attacks hitting different industries, a school district in Dutchess County is getting a boost from a big name in tech to beef up its cybersecurity.

Web thieves are preying on anyone they can to get cash, even the Poughkeepsie City School District.

In February 2020, Superintendent Dr. Eric Rosser says a ransomware attack locked teachers out from accessing certain servers, although it did not breach student information or other sensitive items.

Just like experts suggest, the district did not pay up, and instead began beefing up its cybersecurity.

On Wednesday, those efforts got a big boost when the district won a $500,000 security preparedness grant from IBM.

It was one of six school districts in the country to win, out of more than 200 that applied.

Data shows ransomware attacks against educational institutions increased about 36% from 2019 to 2020 – in a year when the pandemic pushed learning online, increasing reliance on tech.

Nick Rossman, IBM’s global leader for threat intelligence, says there is another reason why it’s important to protect schools.

“It can often delay schools and their start time and their ability to open if teachers can’t get into the network to grade classes or log into Zoom,” he says.

The IBM team should begin working with Poughkeepsie in the next few months to help keep them one step ahead of cyber criminals.

IBM’s website has cybersecurity training videos for teachers and students.

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