Though government officials are increasingly urging organizations to not pay a ransom following a successful cyberattack, the majority of parents want their child’s school to pay the ransom in the event of the attack.

A recent report from the cybersecurity firm Kaspersky found that cyberattacks are becoming commonplace at schools, with 55 percent of parents reporting that their school has been hit with a cyberattack during their child’s time there and 41 percent said there have been multiple attacks.

Despite pressure from government leaders to not pay cybercriminals, 72 percent of parents want their child’s school to pay the ransom in the event of an attack, while only 28 percent of parents said their school should never pay.

The decision to pay ransoms is likely driven by a parent’s desire to keep their child’s sensitive data secure. Nearly half of respondents (43 percent) said they were more focused on data security, while just 11 percent said they were worried about the cost to taxpayers or increased tuition.

The survey pushed parents to put a price tag on what they think schools should spend on a ransom. On average, parents surveyed would be willing to have their child’s school pay $475,687.

On a positive note, 80 percent of schools communicate with parents and students about the school’s cyber preparedness. However, when it comes to successful attacks, only 34 percent of parents were notified immediately by the school, while 57 percent heard about it from another source and 8 percent heard from the school much later.

Looking to the future, parents are mixed as to whether their schools are prepared for an attack. Only 39 percent said they believe their school is “very prepared,” while 29 percent said they view the school as “somewhat prepared.” The majority of parents are concerned about an attack. According to Kaspersky, 67 percent are somewhat concerned, 30 percent of parents are very concerned, and only 8 percent said they aren’t concerned at all.

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Kate Polit
Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk SLG's Assistant Copy & Production Editor, covering Cybersecurity, Education, Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs