The pandemic-accelerated digitization, together with the need to quickly adapt to distance learning, have made schools an ideal target for cybercriminals. Given the disadvantage in terms of available technology and skills compared to universities, primary and secondary education was even less prepared to face the new security challenges posed by increased exposure and higher risks.
Cybersecurity analysts say education is the sector most vulnerable to cyberattacks: according to Microsoft, it accounts for nearly 80% of malware incidents reported in the past 30 days. While data security is a priority for all sectors, in education it is particularly important to protect sensitive information and user privacy, such as the personal information of students, their families and staff on all devices used.
Given the context in which schools are currently evolving, which combines virtual learning, face-to-face teaching and the use of personal devices, the potential threats are numerous. : among the most common, ransomware, data leaks, phishing, DDoS attacks (distributed denial of service), abuse of Internet of Things vulnerabilities, domain spoofing or of course cyber bullying Where doxing.
Cyberbullying, a security threat?
According to UNICEF worldwide 56.6% of children aged 12 to 24 have been victims of cyberbullying. Although cyberbullying is not officially a cybercrime, this line can sometimes be crossed. In the most insidious cases, this type of harassment can lead to the disclosure of personal information (we call it “doxing”) when a stalker manages to take control of their victims’ email or social media accounts in order to publish their personal information to embarrass them, or hack into their device with malware to gain access to their location or sensitive information .
According to Statista data, 6% of online platform users were hacked and 4% lost control of access to their devices. This shows that online harassment can also become a threat to digital security and therefore needs to be addressed.
Because awareness of the problem does not make it go away, it is necessary to educate children and adolescents so that they can ensure their safety online and prevent an already unpleasant situation from having even more serious consequences. What measures to take minimize the threat of cyber security breaches ?
Keep your software up to date : Companies often include security fixes and improvements in software updates.
Create strong passwords : it is important not to settle for using a single, simple and easy to remember password for all your accounts.
Be alert to scams : if in doubt about the source, do not click on the link. It is also important to never give out personal information over the phone or text when dealing with an unknown number or robocall.
How to ensure the security of hybrid education?
With hundreds of students and teachers needing secure network access wherever they are, schools are a complex and demanding network environment that is absolutely essential to protect. Fortunately, there are a series of actions and tools to help mitigate online risks for educational institutions:
Focus your efforts on staff training the basics of cyber security and make sure they understand the need to apply certain data protection protocols. Mark a cyber security manager ensure compliance with best practices, with regular audits and an established reporting process to escalate any issues or potential violations.
Encrypting and backing up systems ensure data recovery in the event of a cyber security breach.
Configure secure Wi-Fi networks who use a vpn for all internet connections.
In addition, installing a unified security solution that protects environments, users, and devices is the most effective and easy-to-implement option to prevent potential attacks at any time.
Digitization of education has many advantages, but these advantages can be jeopardized by insufficient cyber security. Training in this area is important, as is IT managers’ implementation of new solutions that protect users and allow them to use all the possibilities offered by technology.