Cyber-Insurance is costing Florida Schools a Fortune

Florida schools are investing hundreds of thousands of dollars in insurance against cyber attacks, such as ransomware and data breaches.

The move comes after a new report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office, which found the cyberattacks at K-12 schools cost anywhere from three days to three weeks of learning time. The report found that recovery time could take anywhere from two to nine months, and districts’ monetary losses have ranged from $50,000 to $1 million.

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Florida school districts are paying through the nose to prepare.

A survey of 38 school districts by the Florida Auditor General discovered that 22 of them bought general cyber insurance this school year at an average cost of $47,284.Twelve districts bought insurance specific to ransomware this school year at an average price of $17,751. One district even reported a claim of $637,000 for its protections.

Matt Aubin, a cyber intelligence specialist at Southern Recon Agency, explained that the pricey insurance may be unnecessary and that simple due diligence and best practices would likely suffice.

“That’s a big allocation of budgets that are not going to students — that are having to go toward, basically, a catastrophic failure in cyber security, and/or in due diligence, or in having the best practices in place, which, in a lot of cases can be prevented up-front.” 

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However, that’s not to say that the danger of cyberattacks isn’t real. Aubin also detailed why public schools of all places are seen as prime targets for cyber-criminals.

“In the criminal mindset, from what I’ve understood in working thousands of cybercrimes, what we have seen is a lot of cyber criminals believe that any sort of government entity always has the ‘parents,’ the ‘rich parents’ that they can always go to. The city can go to the county, the county can go to the state, the state can go federal,” 

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