In response to the growing threat of ransomware attacks against schools around the world, IBM announced it will provide in-kind grants valued at $5 million to help address cybersecurity resiliency in schools. Since its creation in 2021, the IBM Education Security Preparedness Grants programme has expanded globally, and this year will also include enhanced offerings from IBM SkillsBuild on topics including AI and cybersecurity.
“The global skills gap across cybersecurity and AI is a growing challenge that demands immediate attention,” said Justina Nixon-Saintil, IBM Chief Impact Officer. “To address this challenge, IBM awards Education Security Grants to drive impact with schools worldwide. This year, we are excited to expand the programme to bring the benefits of IBM SkillsBuild training on topics like AI and cybersecurity for students and teachers.”
“Time and time again attackers go after the education sector, yet many of these institutions remain constrained in their security resources,” said Andy Piazza, Global Head of Threat Intelligence, IBM Security X-Force.
“To date, this programme has helped more than 350,000 students across schools in the US and abroad, with IBM Service Corps helping them recover from ransomware attacks, strengthen their security posture against future attacks, and prevent further disruption.”
Applications for schools are now open globally. Grants valued at $500,000 each, $5 million in total will be awarded to six school districts in the US with an additional four around the world. Volunteers, through IBM Service Corps, will use their professional skills to help schools establish programmes to address cybersecurity resiliency.
Each selected school will receive:
- incident response plans and ransomware playbooks,
- programmes to help address the need for updating operating systems,
- strategic communication plans to use in response to cyber incidents, and
- training and digital credentials through IBM SkillsBuild on topics including AI and cybersecurity, and additional benefits such as enhanced access to IBM mentors, teacher training and toolkits, and customised learning pathways.