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Cyber Security in the Education Sector
Schools and colleges are targeted by Organised crime groups (OCG) to steal personally identifiable information (PII) and to carry out frauds. This information is further sold in the underground markets and is leveraged by fraudsters for identity frauds.
High education and universities involved in research and scientific projects are often targeted by nation state actors to steal useful data including intellectual property. The constant challenge remains managing a good balance of managing assets and protecting these assets with proactive cyber security approach.
Cyber attacks on education sector are only going to grow. The majority of the attacks are targeted attacks and the rest that are untargeted as part of the wider cyber attack campaigns.
What are the key Security Challenges?
Security Challenges in the Education Sector
In 2019, a report by digital services organisation Jisc reported that penetration testers had 100% success rate during multiple assessments carried out against UK universities. This directly relates to the security posture of organisations lacking cyber hygiene. Technical security assessments are the truest form of assessing gaps in your security controls, and analysing these gaps to find the relevant solutions (could be processes, planned or long term strategic objectives).
Phishing, ransomware and lack of security awareness have been the top three cyber security threats in education institutions. These are low cost, high returns yielding attacks making it an easy business opportunity for crime groups and nation state actors.
More areas such as default configurations around Office 365 tenancy could prove fatal in case of an event. Office 365 best security practices implementation is comparatively (to infrastructure, applications) less resource intensive and should be considered to raise email security profile of an organisation.
Cloud security is an important aspect for any organisation and security strategy should contain secure configuration and validation exercises against cloud assets. These may include insider threat attack scenarios, web application security assessments, securing Wi-Fi networks, against API security risks and network security assessments.