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 Cybersecurity Team Helps Local Schools

A newly formed team tasked with keeping the San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE) safe in the cyber world is now offering its expertise to help local school districts for free.

The four-member Cybersecurity ServicesInte team, part of SDCOE's Integrated Technology Services, was formed in October. Since then, the team has given presentations for and found creative ways to share information with SDCOE's 1,100 employees.

This month, the team held a successful two-hour presentation for employees at the Lemon Grove School District, the first for a local school district.

"The presentation was extremely informative, shining light on areas of vulnerability and pointing out clues to cyber intrusion attempts," said Ernie Anastos, Lemon Grove's superintendent. "The manner of presentation was also very effective, incorporating role-playing as a very effective way of engaging the audience.

Anastos said he's hoping to have the team return this spring so more staff members can participate in the training. Other school districts are already requesting similar presentations, which include a live hacking demonstration along with information about what hackers are looking for and simple ways to keep information safe online.

"Security is everybody's responsibility," said Ali Maroufi, SDCOE's chief cybersecurity officer. "That's why we're doing this. The goal is for us all to be safe."

Any school official interested in setting up a free, customizable presentation for their organization can contact the team at securinginfo@sdcoe.net. The Cybersecurity team is also available to share resources and tip or help with policies and procedures.

The cybersecurity support is one of the many services that SDCOE's Integrated Technology Services division offers to local schools.