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Why Educational Institutions Should Invest In Superior Security Infrastructure

Why Educational Institutions Should Invest In Superior Security Infrastructure

Security must be a top issue for educational institutions. Despite considerable problems 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.

The more worrying breaches are those in which student safety is compromised. Educational institutions are tasked with the security of their pupils, many of whom are minors, yet a shaky cybersecurity infrastructure puts them at risk.

When the CCTV at numerous schools in Blackpool was supposedly breached and the footage was live-streamed on the internet, this became all too notable.

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Why Edtech Companies Should Invest in Superior Security 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, businesses must assess the risk and determine which data is vulnerable to unauthorized access.

DDoS attacks

DDoS attacks, or distributed denial of service attacks, are a common type of attack on educational institutions of all kinds. The attacker’s goal is to cause massive network disruption, which will have a severe impact on productivity at the institute.

Amateur cybercriminals may find this to be a relatively simple attack to carry out, especially if the target network is not well protected. Students and professors have successfully carried out DDoS attacks for a variety of reasons, ranging from just wanting a day off to opposing the way a complaint was handled.

Data theft

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 bargaining 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.

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Financial gain

Another reason why hackers would attack an educational institution is for financial benefit. While public schools may not be at risk, private institutions and Universities/Colleges that handle a big number of student fees are a prominent 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.

Espionage

The fourth reason why education is a target for cybercrime is espionage. Universities and colleges, for example, are typically used as research centers with important intellectual property.

Universities and colleges must be adequately protected, as it is believed that science, engineering, and medical research conducted by UK universities have previously been compromised by hackers, and professionals with plenty of time and money to fund them are frequently at the helm of these attacks.

With these four objectives in mind, we can better understand how to defend educational networks by looking at how hackers attack them.

How Education is targeted?

IT professionals in further and higher education were surveyed for the JISC’s 2018 Cybersecurity Posture Survey. They were asked to name the biggest cyber hazards facing their organizations, and the top three responses reveal the most typical manner in which educational networks are breached.

Phishing

Phishing schemes usually take the shape of an email or an instant chat, and they’re meant to fool 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.

Ransomware/Malware

 Ransomware and virus attacks are also among the top three cyber risks mentioned in the research, as they block users from accessing the network or files and cause disruption. Attackers can hold files hostage in more complex versions of this threat.

Ransomware or malware affects devices by infecting them with a trojan, which is a file or attachment that appears to be normal. Some ransomware, such as the WannaCry outbreak, has been found to spread between devices without the user’s knowledge.

Lack of awareness

Lack of awareness or accidents is the third threat identified by experts in both further and higher education. This could be due to insufficient training among staff or students to exercise proper cyber hygiene or mistakenly compromise the network.

Human error plays a crucial role in each of these three Education sector cybersecurity concerns, despite their distinct appearances. Education institutions, on the other hand, could better protect themselves against cyberattacks if they received better overall cybersecurity training and were more aware of the motives and methods used by attackers.

Top suggestions for securing your Edtech network

Due to funding constraints and a lack of resources, the Education sector should concentrate its efforts on reducing the danger of a cyberattack rather than reacting after one has occurred.

Training

One method to alleviate the effects of a lack of cash and resources is to provide basic training to all users of your network.

This can be as basic as providing employees and students with a handbook that includes information about what to look out for and how to practice good cybersecurity hygiene. Giving people the knowledge they need to defend the network at all points could cut down on the number of events caused by human error.

Authentication

Implementing a user-friendly multi-factor authentication (MFA) technology is another cost-effective option to ensure the safety of your institution and its students.

Adding that extra security step for network users will assist prevent unauthorized access. A user-friendly platform should be at the top of your list when looking for an MFA provider.

If users can use a platform independently, there will be less need for administrative support, allowing educational institutions to save money without sacrificing network security.

These are just some of the cost-effective ways to protect your School, University or College from any form of unauthorized access. With the increasing frequency and potential severity cyberattacks pose to the Education sector, it’s crucial that IT professionals can work to find a solution to challenges like a lack of funding.

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[To share your insights with us, please write to sghosh@martechseries.com]

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