Southwick schools receive cyber security grant

SOUTHWICK – The Southwick-Tolland-Granville Regional School District was awarded a grant for cyber security awareness training this week.

The program is run by the Executive Office of Technology Services and Security.

STGRSD Director of Finance and Operations Stephen Presnal said cyber security has been, and continues to be, a concern.

“There have been really horrific stories from school districts that have fallen victim to ransomware,” Presnal said, noting that in these cases data is stolen after a cyber attack and a ransom is requested while “data is held hostage” for payment, often bitcoin.

The cyber security training will help staff learn to recognize security alerts, including phishing emails. Phishing is a method of gathering personal information using deceptive emails.

“The training includes simulated phishing emails to test for best practices in cyber security,” said Presnal.

The training will be for all district staff, including teachers, support staff and administrators.

“The EOTSS program is a one-year program and it will probably be our recommendation to continue with training and simulated phishing,” Presnal said, noting that any new staff hired after the one-year grant should be trained.

Presnal said he and Technology Director John Grimaldi have been seeking ways to approach cyber security training.

“[This grant] provides training at no cost to the district,” Presnal said.




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