Why Cybersecurity needs to be a Priority for the Education Sector ?
Cybersecurity must be a top issue for educational institutions. Despite considerable obstacles in the industry, such as a lack of manpower and financing and resources, cyberattacks in education are no less common or serious. Indeed, as breaches in schools and higher education become more widely reported, they appear to be increasing in occurrence year after year.
COVID has experienced over 1000 cyber-attacks in the education sector in India alone.
During August/September 2020, the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) warned of the possibility of ransomware attacks on the UK education sector.
In terms of reported enterprise malware exposures, the education sector is the most hit globally.
A study of 499 education IT decision makers was done by a corporation in 30 countries across America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia Pacific.
In the most serious attack, 58 percent of education companies targeted by ransomware stated the thieves were successful in encrypting their data.
Why Education Industry is a target for cybercrime
Because it frequently lacks a robust IT infrastructure, the education sector has long been a tempting target for enemies. IT and cybersecurity budgets are frequently strained, with stretched IT budgets, with limited tools and resources, teams are trying to safeguard an out-of-date infrastructure.
The motives for attacks can vary depending on the size, purpose, and prestige of education venues. What may be a common hazard to world-renowned universities and colleges may not be a concern for schools or school districts. As a result, organisations must assess the risk and determine which data is vulnerable to unauthorised access.
Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks are a popular sort of attack on educational venues at all levels. The attacker's goal is to cause broad disruption to the institute's network, which will have a detrimental impact on production. Amateur cybercriminals may find this to be a relatively simple attack to carry out, especially if the target network is not well protected.
Because all institutions collect student and staff data, including sensitive information like names and addresses, this is yet another attack that affects all levels of education. This type of data can be beneficial to hackers for a variety of reasons, including selling it to a third party or using it as a negotiating tool to extort money. The worrying feature of this form of assault is that hackers can go undetected for extended periods of time. As was the situation at Berkeley, when over a period of months, at least 160,000 medical records were allegedly stolen from University computers.
In the case of higher education institutes such as Universities/Colleges, they are quite often research centres with valuable intellectual property. Another reason education has become a target for cybercrime.
Another motivation for hackers to attack an educational institution is to make money. Ransomware assaults were the most costly, costing up to $ 112,435 in an average EDUCATION ransom payment. While some financial gain methods used by hackers may not be as dangerous or high risk for public schools, but for private institutions and universities/colleges that handle big amounts of student fees are a prime target for cybercriminals. Students and parents commonly pay fees via an internet gateway these days, typically transferring huge quantities of money to cover an entire term or year of tuition. This creates a weak place for cybercriminals to exploit without sufficient protection or planning on the part of educational institutions.
Students and parents commonly pay fees via an internet gateway these days, typically transferring huge quantities of money to cover an entire term or year of tuition. This creates a weak place for cybercriminals to exploit without sufficient protection or planning on the part of educational institutions.
Network security woes ?
How Industry Is Targeted
Phishing scams usually take the shape of an email or an instant message, and they're designed to deceive the user into trusting the source in order to gain access to their credentials, whether it's sensitive student information or confidential research.
This form of attack is cited as the most serious threat to higher education institutions, implying that hackers target the industry on a regular basis.
In the education sector, 57% of infected emails were distributed from internal accounts.
As a result of the pandemic, spear-phishing attacks are on the rise.
The challenges industry is facing
Top tips for securing Education Domain
One way to mitigate the effects of a lack of funding and resources is to provide basic training to all network users.
This can be as simple as providing staff and students with a guidebook that includes information about what to look out for and tips for practising good cybersecurity hygiene. Giving people the information they need to secure the network at all points of access could reduce the number of incidents caused by human error.
Adopt multi-factor authentication for employees and students
Using multi-factor authentication solutions, you can ensure that only the necessary and appropriate people have access to remote learning tools. Instead of relying on a username and password combination to access systems, users must provide an additional form of identification. Additional layers of identification, such as a one-time passcode (OTP) sent via SMS or a fingerprint or iris scan, can be implemented.
Neither every system has an updated antivirus protection, nor everyone is aware of how to respond to these attacks. Investing in the right cybersecurity solutions along with gaining proper knowledge on prevention methods is, therefore, the need of the hour.” Barracuda network