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Why Cybersecurity In The EdTech Sector Matters More Than Ever?

The education sector is a straightforward target for Cyber Attacks from 2020 due to the steep rise in EduTech solutions and online learning. Microsoft’s global threat studies show that Malware-based attacks account for over 6.8 million encounters in a span of 30 days. During August 2020 alone, the average number of Cyber Attacks targeted on US educational institutions increased by 30%. Not to mention the Ransomware attacks that doubled in 2020 when compared to 2019.

Image from Pexels — Tima Miroshnichenko

The imperative need for setting up a security fortress around your digital educational systems and appropriate Cyber Security upskilling is no longer optional. This statement applies to smart devices, networks, and tools used for collaboration. It is also recommended to include fundamentals of Cybersecurity as part of the course curriculum.

Let’s look at some of the primary threats to Cybersecurity faced by academic personnel. We will follow it up with a few practical measures against those.

Key Cyber Threats To Academicians

As per the Consortium Of School Networking (CoSN), here are the five main threats to digital systems faced by teachers:

Phishing

The vulnerability of human emotions (or Social Engineering) is exploited to perform this attack. The victims are tricked into giving confidential data such as credit card details or passwords. CoSN declares that over 90% of the attacks today are a result of Phishing attempts.

Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS)

The attacker(s) flood the victim’s data systems’ bandwidth or resources to their local server in the DDoS mode of Cyberattack.

Data Breach

When private data such as a student database, for instance, is hacked without authorization, this activity is called a Data Breach. The famous Indian EdTech firm Unacademy faced a massive data breach of over 22 billion user records due to a dark web-based breach in 2020.

Ransomware

Holding data hostage in exchange for money or other entities is defined by the term Ransomware. The WannaCry attack of 2017, where over 7,000 computers were hacked in an hour, is one of the biggest Ransomware attacks committed so far.

IoT-based Vulnerabilities

If the security patches and updates in IoT gadgets used for educational activities such as tablets, laptops, and phones are not kept up to date, you are making them vulnerable. Cybercriminals can take control of them remotely and gain access to your private data.

Measures To Control Cyber Attacks

As an EdTech institution, what are the leading measures your firm, the teachers, and students must follow to avoid the chances of Cyberattacks? Let’s take a brief look:

Appoint Specialized Cyber Security Wing

Maintain a skilled team of techies who monitor and provide advisory services for making your database and overall system secure and robust. Also, enable them to train on the latest Cybersecurity certifications to be equipped to deal with the latest threats online.

Regular Cybersecurity Training

Cyber Attacks are constantly exploring new techniques to find vulnerabilities in your security perimeter. It is therefore pivotal to arrange security awareness training and behavioral preparedness against phishing. Employ certified trainers to provide training sessions and examinations that make your team self-sufficient to resist social engineering and phishing attempts. This needs to be followed by awareness training for students.

Best-In-Class Anti-Malware and Anti-Virus Software

As they say, prevention is better than cure. The same concept applies here. Look for Cybersecurity software that comes with automated updates and detailed scans to muscle up your system defenses.

In addition, also ensure to keep all your software and tools up to date with the latest patches that prevent access to malicious agents like Ransomware agents.

Password Policy

Set up all your tool portals with strong password criteria. This action makes it extremely hard for attackers to crack the passwords/credentials of your team, teachers, or students. Don’t forget to employ Multi-Factor Authentication for all users when they log in remotely.

Wrapping Things Up

The global audience has switched predominantly to an online-based learning behavior, especially since the onset of the Covid pandemic. This scenario has opened the floodgates to an array of Cyber scams and threats, with the EdTech sector on the firing radar. There is no better time than now for players in the online education space to gear up with their best defenses!

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Sidharth Sathish

Sidharth Sathish

Converting ideas into words.

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