Education Sector: A Lucrative Target for Cyberattackers

Cyber disruptions across the education sector have become more common than ever. Over the past two months, the sector has been dealing with a barrage of vulnerability exploits, malware, DDoS, and phishing attacks.

Recent incidents

  • Fairfax County Public Schools, one of the largest school divisions in the U.S., was hit by a ransomware attack. The attack has been claimed by the Maze group, who leaked approximately 100MB of the stolen data as proof. 
  • The Hartford Public Schools district also got hit by ransomware that delayed school reopening. The attack knocked off various critical systems offline.

Some statistics your way

  • The most common threats faced by the education sector came from downloaders and adware, followed by trojans. 
  • Until June, 2,449 Zoom-related domains were registered, out of which 32 were found to be malicious. To date, Zoombombing is in full force. 
  • Most of the targeted academic institutions in the U.S. saw an average weekly increase of 30% in attacks during the past two months. At the same time, institutions in Europe saw an increase in attacks by 24%.

Why the sudden increase in attacks?

  • DDoS attacks have seen a massive hike, sometimes owing to students checking out dedicated tools available online for free. However, most of the attacks were deployed by hacktivists.
  • With the sudden shift of education to virtual environments, the threat profile has changed. The new normal requires new cyber policies and plans.
  • Digital classrooms are no different than other industries, at this point, since a multitude of threats have followed the flexible workspace. 
  • While many institutions have allocated resources to fend off cyberattacks, others fall short due to budgetary constraints. Consequently, vulnerable endpoints, at-risk connectivity, and phishing have contributed to the surge of remote access exposure. 

The bottom line

Experts state that these attacks will continue, mostly because a lot of schools lack the readiness to fight even a run-of-the-mill DDoS attack. Moreover, it is not only cybercriminals the sector needs to worry about but also, students who aim to obstruct the digital delivery of education.

Cyware Publisher

Publisher

Cyware