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Texas School District Uses AppSense to Prevent Ransomware Threats

AppSense, is a global leader of secure user environment management (UEM). The company has now reported that their AppSense Application Manager will be used in the Pearland Independent School District (ISD). The AAM will be used to safeguard the districts cyber environment from malware, ransomware and hackers attempting to breach endpoints on the school network.

“Pearland ISD, located south of Houston, Texas, serves most of the city of Pearland, the city of Brookside Village, and unincorporated areas in Brazoria County including Silverlake, a planned community,” according to a recent release.

“Over 3,000 teachers and staff and 21,100 students depend on Pearland ISD’s computing resources to be reliable and responsive to enable them do their jobs and complete coursework.”

The Pearland IDS’s servers for teachers, staff, students and parents contain very sensitive information which includes, bank account information, social security number, home addresses, telephone numbers, and more.  

“While the school district was employing a range of measures to secure its network, it had no technology in place to secure the 15,000 endpoints used by teachers, staff, and students,” according to the release.

Pearland ISD faced a threat from one of their own students who attempt to breach the system from the inside with malicious tools via a pen drive.

“The student hacker also downloaded Active Directory tools and UltraSerf to support his efforts to break into student accounts. While combatting this threat and dealing with the student, Pearland ISD also suffered a ransomware attack,” according to the release.

In order to remedy the situation Pearland ISD’s IT team knew they needed to find a way to improve the endpoints of their systems. The district’s trusted solution provider Logical Front advise them to adopt AppSense Application Manager which enables the school district’s IT team to detect and prevent unauthorized executable apps from running within the network for the added layer of protection it needed.

“You can’t put a price on security. You’re talking about people’s lives. Just ask the people that shopped at Target. People will be cleaning that up for years to come,” said Greg Bartay, director of technology, Pearland ISD.

“You have to have a zero trust policy with virtual firewalls throughout your network and layered defenses. AppSense helps achieve that on the endpoint.”

When you look at the big data breaches that occur on larger scales such as the Home Depot or Ashley Madison hacks, servers are becoming an easy target. The last thing teachers, parents and students want is for their personal information to be stolen due to malicious threats and hackers.

For more on AppSense read the full release.

Article by Navindra Persaud, Education World Contributor.

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