IBM has extended a program that improves cybersecurity defenses of public schools with$5 million in grants.
On Tuesday, IBM announced that it would offer a $5 million grant to public schools, including K-12 institutions in the United States. IBM’s existing grants program had focused on US schools, but the latest scheme goes beyond U.S borders.
IBM said these programs are necessary to “help address cybersecurity resiliency in schools, including against ransomware.”
A total of 10 grants, six grants in the U.S., and 4 grants are distributed among 4 countries i.e. Brazil, Costa Rica, Ireland, and the United Arab Emirates. Each award is $500,000, bringing the total to $5 million in resources and hours.
The program forms part of IBM’s Corporate Social Responsibility initiative called IBM impact, including social, environmental, and governance projects.
IBM teams will work with schools to study their current defenses and create playbooks on incident response. Besides, they will also raise awareness and train staff,s students and parents regarding cybersecurity. IBM wants to formulate a management-level strategic plan for managing communication during and after a cybersecurity attack.
According to Emsisoft research, more than 1,000 educational establishments in the US alone suffered a ransomware attack in 2021, including school districts, colleges, and universities.
The researchers say that 2,323 local governments, schools, and healthcare providers in the US public sector became the victims of ransomware operators during the course of the past year.
“For schools, a large barrier to strengthening their cybersecurity posture often comes down to constrained budgets, which financially motivated threat actors bet on,” commented Charles Henderson, head of IBM Security X-Force. “In the event of ransomware attacks, the extreme added pressure schools experience to pay a ransom to recover their operations is a profitable wager for the bad guys.”