The Friday Institute Releases White Papers on Cybersecurity in K-12 Schools

RALEIGH, N.C. — The Friday Institute for Educational Innovation is releasing the first in a series of white papers today on cybersecurity in K-12 schools, designed to highlight the threats that K-12 schools face both from cyberattackers and from accidental data breaches. The report is designed for district leaders, policymakers and the general public.

“Schools, hospitals and local governments are very tempting targets for cyberattackers,” said Mark Samberg, Ed.D., the Friday Institute’s director of technology programs. “These organizations have large, open networks as well as difficulties in recruiting and retaining experienced network personnel. This, combined with the treasure trove of financial and personally identifiable data housed in data systems, creates incentive for cyberattacks.”

As schools increasingly move to digitally enabled learning environments, they are under constant threat of cybersecurity incidents, including hacks, data breaches and ransomware. Over 1,000 cybersecurity incidents have been cataloged in K-12 schools since 2016. In the last year, several districts in North Carolina have experienced significant disruptions from ransomware and from data breaches.

The rest of the report series will provide specific policy and technical recommendations for schools and districts designed to help defend against potential cyberattacks and data breaches.  The reports will be released over the next several months.

Read the first report


About the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation

The Friday Institute brings together researchers, practitioners and policymakers to lead the transition to next-generation education systems that will prepare students for success in the digital-age world. It conducts research, develops educational resources, provides professional development programs for educators, advocates to improve teaching and learning, and helps inform policymaking. The Friday Institute is a part of the NC State College of Education. Visit to learn more.


About the Technology Programs Team and Technology Infrastructure Lab at the Friday Institute

The Technology Programs and Technology Infrastructure Lab teams at the Friday Institute bring over 100 years of combined experience in IT and network infrastructure including over four decades of combined experience in K-12 infrastructure. In partnership with the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, the Friday Institute developed the North Carolina School Connectivity Initiative and the North Carolina Digital Learning Plan.