The tech giant IBM has announced in-kind grants to help strengthen cybersecurity in schools. The grants are worth $3 million. The grants will be awarded to six school districts in the United States, which will sponsor teams of IBM employees who will proactively help them prep and respond to cyberattacks.
The school districts that win the grants will get the teams deployed via IBM's Service Corps Program. IBM has announced these grants in response to an alert from the FBI warning that nearly 60% of reported ransomware incidents between August and September 2020 involved K-12 schools.
Each of the grants announced are valued at $500,000 each and will be awarded in 2021 to school districts that apply for the grant via the IBM.org. They can apply between February 4 and March 1, 2021. The grants will be awarded depending on the level of cybersecurity needs.
Christopher Scott, Director of Security Innovation, Office of the CISO, IBM, said: "Stay-at-home orders, and the switch to remote learning, have changed the focus for cybercriminals looking for easy targets as everyone from kindergartners to college professors have adopted remote technologies. And with budgets focused on new ways of learning, many schools are in need of additional resources and technology to change the dynamic and lower the financial ROI for the bad guys targeting them."
The company's IBM Service Corps is responsible for helping communities with economic development, education, health, social services, and sustainability. IBM has said that about 2,500 company employees contributed more than 100,000 hours on various Service Corps projects. The same program will help strengthen school security in the US through the grants.