Why Cybersecurity needs to be a Priority for the Education Sector ?

Cybersecurity must be a top issue for educational institutions. Despite considerable ‎obstacles 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. ‎

COVID has experienced over 1000 cyber-attacks in the education sector in India alone.‎

During August/September 2020, the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) warned of the ‎possibility of ransomware attacks on the UK education sector. ‎

In terms of reported enterprise malware exposures, the education sector is the most hit ‎globally.‎

A study of 499 education IT decision makers was done by a corporation in 30 countries ‎across America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia Pacific.

Which Said:-

In the most serious attack, 58 percent of education companies targeted by ransomware ‎stated the thieves were successful in encrypting their data.‎

Business Risk

Why Education Industry is a target for cybercrime

Because it frequently lacks a robust IT infrastructure, the education sector has ‎long been a tempting target for enemies. IT and cybersecurity budgets are ‎frequently strained, with stretched IT budgets, with limited tools and resources, ‎teams are trying to safeguard an out-of-date infrastructure.‎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, organisations must assess the risk and determine which data is vulnerable ‎to unauthorised access.

DDoS Attacks

Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks are a popular sort of attack ‎on educational venues at all levels. The attacker's goal is to cause broad disruption to the ‎institute's network, which will have a detrimental impact on production.‎ Amateur cybercriminals may find this to be a relatively simple attack to carry out, ‎especially if the target network is not well protected.‎

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 negotiating 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.‎


In the case of higher education institutes such as Universities/Colleges, they ‎are quite often research centres with valuable intellectual property. Another reason ‎education has become a target for cybercrime.‎

Financial Gain

Another motivation for hackers to attack an educational institution is ‎to make money. Ransomware assaults were the most costly, costing up to $ 112,435 in an ‎average EDUCATION ransom payment.‎ While some financial gain methods used by hackers may not be as dangerous or high risk ‎for public schools, but for private institutions and universities/colleges that handle big ‎amounts of student fees are a prime 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.

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.‎ 

Network security woes ?

Technical Threats

How Industry Is Targeted

Phishing scams usually take the shape of an email or an instant ‎message, and they're designed to deceive 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.

In the education sector, 57% of infected emails were distributed from internal ‎accounts.

As a result of the pandemic, spear-phishing attacks are on the rise.‎

The challenges industry is facing

Identify common points of failure
Identifying and patching common ‎vulnerabilities used by criminals, as well as blocking known malicious sites and IP ‎addresses, will help secure data and systems.‎
Optimising limited resources and support

According to the NCSC, the ‎Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), and the Australian ‎Cybersecurity Centre (ACSC), bad actors will typically target known vulnerabilities ‎to compromise unpatched systems and breach an organization's defences rather ‎than creative threat vectors. To avoid this, IT teams should prioritise known flaws ‎by employing a risk-based vulnerability management strategy. This approach ‎focuses on specific threats that pose a real risk to an organisation, rather than just ‎a theoretical risk, while drastically reducing the time spent manually prioritising ‎threats. According to studies, this approach can increase security by 7.5 times at ‎no additional cost.‎

A lack of policy
Establishing network policies and ensuring that they are ‎followed can be difficult in large institutions with a diverse user population. Unsafe online student behaviour, such as downloading pirated software, increases vulnerability to attack.‎
Unsafe online student behaviour
Such as downloading pirated software, ‎increases vulnerability to attack.‎

Experts Tips

Top tips for securing Education Domain


One way to mitigate the effects of a lack of funding and resources is to provide ‎basic training to all network users.‎

This can be as simple as providing staff and students with a guidebook that ‎includes information about what to look out for and tips for practising good ‎cybersecurity hygiene. Giving people the information they need to secure the ‎network at all points of access could reduce the number of incidents caused by ‎human error.‎

Adopt multi-factor authentication for employees and students

Using multi-factor authentication solutions, you can ensure that only the ‎necessary and appropriate people have access to remote learning tools. Instead of ‎relying on a username and password combination to access systems, users must ‎provide an additional form of identification. Additional layers of identification, ‎such as a one-time passcode (OTP) sent via SMS or a fingerprint or iris scan, can be ‎implemented.‎

Neither every system has an updated antivirus protection, nor everyone is ‎aware of how to respond to these attacks. Investing in the right ‎cybersecurity solutions along with gaining proper knowledge on prevention ‎methods is, therefore, the need of the hour.” Barracuda network‎