Why Is Cybersecurity Important In The Education Sector?
The digitization of the education system has led to some severe issues like cyberbullying, malware attacks, and hacking. Also, with the steep increase in remote learning and virtual classrooms, cybersecurity is a prominent area of concern for educational institutes and students alike.
Cybersecurity experts say that the education sector is most vulnerable to cyber threats. To illustrate, 63% of the total reported encounters were from educational institutes. It is evident that the sector of schooling is a favorite target among cybercriminals. Numerous institutes have suffered data breaches and hacking at the hands of black hat hackers. Hence, cybersecurity is crucial for protecting the information that can damage the organization.
Recent cyberattacks targeting the education sector
Schools and colleges are a goldmine of personal information. To add, cyber protection is rarely the same that private enterprises use. Therefore, hackers aim for their networks to exploit sensitive budgets. Here are a few examples:
The above instances prove that cyber protection is the need of the hour. If IT experts of educational institutes take up cyber security training online, the number of threats might reduce.
Why are educational centers prone to cyberattacks?
Educational institutes vary in stature, size, and purpose. Accordingly, the motives of cybercriminals also change with every hack. For instance, the same hackers who attack world-renowned Universities may not threaten local schools. Hence, organizations hire cyber security analysts to evaluate their risks and develop response strategies.
But why is the education sector such a rewarding target for hackers? The reasons are:
Financial gain and money-making opportunities
Money is the primary motive for most hackers. Not only can cybercriminals sell a college’s data, but they can also hold sensitive information captive for ransom. Although not all institutes have bottomless pockets, the returns are worth it if the crooks get hold of their data. Moreover, educational records are worth $265 on the black market. Such financial gains are more than enough for attackers to target colleges.
A comprehensive array of devices
Academic institutes utilize a wide range of devices for teaching, storing data, and other purposes. Furthermore, students carry their own mobile devices for researching and taking notes. This increases the number of potential loose ends for attackers.
Despite knowing how to operate devices, students lack the knowledge of cybersecurity. Most of their cellular devices lack network security and the necessary protection mechanisms. If they connect to the institution’s Wi-Fi, they’re opening doors for hackers to breach the building’s network.
Hence, students and teachers should learn about cybercrimes and their prevention. They can easily do so by acquiring cyber security certifications online. In addition to the school’s protection, their home devices would also be secure.
Storage of sensitive data and Personally Identifiable Information (PII)
Universities and schools are cornucopias of personal attributes. From names and addresses, their computers store the financial details of every student and staff member. Hence, higher institutes act as trunks of PII for hackers to breach. In addition to students’ social security numbers and passport particulars, their healthcare data is also at risk. Hence, an organization should recruit a cybersecurity expert to review its cyber protection.
Espionage and theft of confidential research
Mainly research institutions face the threat of espionage as hackers can gain access to military or other valuable data. Also, prominent universities hold intellectual and historical property. Therefore, they’re always more prone to cyberattacks than district schools. For this reason, IT people require cyber security training online or tools to counter such invasions.
How do cybercriminals act
Hackers employ numerous methods to breach academic institutions, for example:
Possible prevention methods
Academic institutions must take appropriate precautions for students’ security despite limited resources. Some effective measures are:
Educational institutes are centers of opportunities for students and staff. However, they are more vulnerable to cyber attacks than private companies with abundant resources. If hackers breach the data and spread it online, it will damage the college’s reputation and violate students’ privacy. Therefore, cybersecurity is of utmost importance in the education sector, and all institutes must hire cyber security professional to review their safety frameworks.
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Originally published at https://www.globaltechcouncil.org on February 2, 2022.