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Why the Education Sector Needs to Make Cybersecurity a Priority

Cyber Security and Hacking

Why the Education Sector Needs to Make Cybersecurity a Priority

For decades, the education sector has been dealing with a wide range of critical issues. They include a shortage of staff, lack of adequate resources, and lack of enough funds. The pandemic also caused a massive disturbance and led to new teaching and learning methods. The situation required a rapid move to remote working and evaluating the processes and systems that have been in place for many years. This rapid shift left the entire sector exposed.

In a couple of weeks, on top of the usual tasks during the semester, the entire system had to be re-evaluated to safeguard employees, students, and intellectual property. Only a handful of learning institutions had a risk management strategy in place to help them respond effectively to the pandemic. You shouldn’t be surprised that the majority of learning institutions weren’t prepared for the transition. In a bid to uphold new rules and a level of continuity, new systems and guidelines had to be put in place. While the rules differ depending on the institution and country, cybercriminals have managed to manipulate the systems.

Cybercriminals employ sophisticated methods. In addition, attacks against the entire education sector are becoming aggressive. From malware to ransomware, most learning institutions become hit every day. What we hear from the media is only a fraction of the problems facing this industry. In this article, we are going to discuss why the education sector needs to make cybersecurity a priority. The importance of cybersecurity in educational institutions cannot be ignored.

1. Attack surface

The education sector will always be a target to cybercriminals. This is because the attack surface is huge. The size of the industry together with the potential for financial gain makes the industry a prime target for criminals. Anyone from employees to students is a potential target. The bigger the attack surface, the higher the likelihood of investing time and resources into the attack. For instance, in the UK, there are more than two million students and close to half a million staff in colleges. With such a big attack surface, a weak link has to exist somewhere. Industries such as the financial and telecommunication sector are powerful and wealthy. What do cybercriminals gain by hacking a staff or student account? Due to the vulnerability of the educational sector data.

2. Stealing data

From elementary school to college, every learning institution holds a huge amount of data. The data includes personal and private information such as telephone numbers, addresses, medical records, and personal requirements to name a few. You can buy case study from a legit service to find out how much information your college holds. Furthermore, to get good grades in your course, you need to invest in school or college education. Learning on campus how to write subjects and do your exam with the help of teachers will improve your studying. Learning mathematics, formulas and integrals through online studying will help you save time in university. When cybercriminals obtain this information, they can sell it or use it to exploit individuals. They can also use this information as a bargaining tool during an attack.

3. Financial reasons

Cyberattacks have financial advantages for the attacker. Tuition fees are a huge part of college schooling systems. The average college student pays more than $12000 a year to study. This does not include accommodation costs. In the UK, there are more than two million students. Therefore, the financial gain that attackers will get by targeting learning institutions is huge. Most tuition payments take place once through online portals. If an attacker can hack the portal and create a campaign to trick users into sending fees into a different account, the financial gain will be huge. There have been many campaigns targeting college students and learning institutions over the years.

4. Espionage

Colleges hold lots of valuable intellectual property. Depending on the type of data stolen, espionage takes place in most instances. Research in medicine and engineering provides key insights that can be used in these ways:

· To understand the development of a specific project. This information become sold to actors or competitors to influence social, economic, and political change

· Individuals or departments can be kidnapped and held for the valuable information they possess. In most instances, the process of halting research can be more expensive than the kidnapper’s demand.

5. DDoS Disruption

Apart from espionage, there are Distributed Denial-of-Service attacks and DDoS. Cybercriminals use these types of attacks to infiltrate a weak network, target a host and disrupt the network to minimize productivity, and crash the entire system. Moreover, the attack is usually difficult to contain because it is launched from different sources. There are many motives behind such an attack. They include revenge and make it easier for other infiltrations to happen in the future. Here’s how to make cybersecurity a priority.

Tips to prevent cyberattacks

Moreover, here are a few tips that students and college staff can use to learn how to protect university databases:

· Perform regular assessments: You need to identify the type of information that your learning institution holds. Colleges tend to have a huge amount of sensitive data both in paper and electronic format. Identifying vulnerable departments and coming up with a protection plan that meets the institution’s needs will pay off in spades.

· Review relationships with vendors: Most learning institutions share lots of valuable information with service providers for a wide range of reasons. While most service providers are reputable, some are not. Doing your due diligence before allowing access to information will pay off in spades in the long run. Always insist that the providers sign an agreement to protect private data.

· Hire a CISO: Hiring experienced chief information security officers can help you minimize security issues and take charge of policies and procedures. Do not be afraid to seek help when you need it. Lastly, there are a lot of experts who can guarantee information security at an affordable price.

Conclusion

The education sector has been dealing with a wide range of problems for decades. One of them is cyberattacks. You need to keep in mind that cyber attackers use sophisticated methods to infiltrate a network and cause havoc. Therefore, it’s always important to plan for such events and hire professionals to help you prevent this. Lastly, what will you do today to protect students and staff from cyber attackers?

Cyber Security and Hacking

Why the Education Sector Needs to Make Cybersecurity a Priority