Central Okanagan School District: Everybody at risk of cyber attacks

SD 23 serious on security

Cyber criminals have attempted to penetrate the security measures in place within the Central Okanagan School District.

But, so far those measures have kept the outside world at bay.

"Near misses have been an issue and you upgrade the system to make sure people's data is secured," said school district Supt. Kevin Kaardal in the wake of the cyber attack perpetrated by the ransomware group Vice Society on Okanagan College three weeks ago.

"There have been attempts and we are notified about them. You upgrade the system to make sure people's data is secured.

"That's the most important thing."

Last September the National Cybersecurity Awareness System in the U.S. issued a warning Vice Society were disproportionately targeting the education sector, especially the K-12 sector.

Kaardal wouldn't speak to specifics concerning the district's cybersecurity measures for security reasons, but would say employees are trained about safe practices and phishing.

Data on all devices are encrypted requiring multi-factor authentication on many of those.

Kaardal says the district meets with the provincial security officer to make sure their measures meet certain standards.

"We monitor for threats regularly. You can get critical updates in a day and are able to put a patch in right away to block that kind of threat," said Kaardal.

"We continually take measures to block phishing and email scams."

As for Okanagan College, he says he feels for what they are going through, saying those who want to cause trouble are "very sophisticated."

"The most important thing in terms of what our software holds is data, and that is all encrypted at a very high level.

"So far, all I can say is the security measures we have in place are working at the moment.

"We take it very seriously, we have an outstanding team, and it's something we focus on daily."

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