With new, evolving technologies come new security risks and dangers. Threats from different sources like hackers, information leaks, and others, constantly lurk around the corners. There has been an uptick in cases of breaches in higher education institutions lately and a lot of it is because of the rapid advancement of digitization. Criminals have continued to grow with tech.
It is highly important to know how one can protect oneself against cyber threats. This is especially true for well-respected schools that house crucial information of thousands of students. Here are 6 reasons why cybersecurity should be prioritized in the education sector:
Cyberattacks are growing in number
As mentioned in the introduction paragraph, there has been a steep rise in the cases of breaches and thefts in educational institutions. Criminals have found ways to cheat the system and get access to all sorts of sensitive information. Since 2016, there have been dozens of attacks targeted towards universities in the USA that have caused day-long shutdowns.
The most infamous one is The University of Calgary ransomware attack that has highlighted the importance of cybersecurity in the discipline. Another malware attack that caused a lot of distress and inconvenience is the Blackpool CCTV attack that published live feeds onto a website and compromised the safety of students.
Student safety is compromised
Piggybacking off of the previous point, any attack on an education institution is a direct threat to the students who study in it, most of whom are minors. When a student applies to a school and hopes to become a part of its community, they entrust their lives and safety with it. This is especially true if the student lives on campus and not at home.
Students also use school networks for their academic work where they get help with essay writing. They trust their college administrations to safeguard important documents like government papers, medical records, bank and other payment gateway records, and more. A data breach directed towards a school not only affects the institution seriously but also the students that study in it as well as their parents and guardians.
Prevent data theft
Sensitive information like addresses, contact details, names, and others are leaked out to the public during attacks. Students and teachers who are part of a university’s community are the ones directly affected by malware and ransomware attacks. They have the most at stake as their data could be harvested and sold to third parties for profit or used for more sinister reasons. It is also quite concerning that most such data breaches come to light quite late, by which time, officials and law enforcement can’t do much about it.
Installing appropriate measures to ensure maximum security as part of your school’s cybersecurity requirements can prevent harmful breaches and attacks like this and keep your data secure. Providing hacking tips for students to train and educate students can also do the same.
Safeguard intellectual property
The education sector is full of academics from various fields. Each of them have groundbreaking work in their specific disciplines that could change the world. Since most work is done and stored on computers, there is a high risk of losing it while there are invasions and breaches. This is why, necessary measures must be taken to eliminate potential weak spots that cybercriminals can exploit. Risks must be evaluated thoroughly by experts who should then implement strong courses of action to protect and defend.
Protect financial resources
A lot of security breaches arise from financial difficulties. Private education institutions handle large sums of money and store them. This is highly common during fee payment periods since almost all urban students conduct fee payment transactions online because of its ease and convenience. Private schools that charge a lot of fees from students sometimes serve as prime targets for cyber attacks.
When there is no proper cybersecurity installed within the systems of the school, there are high chances of financial attacks on the system that can lead to tremendous loss of resources. This is an area that deserves special attention and protection in case of any gaps that criminals can intercept.
Secure computerized systems
Other than the above-listed main areas that can be attacked by cyber criminals, a weak digital system, or content management system, can be misused and exploited. Education institutions must make sure they have installed state-of-the-art softwares and anti-virus systems to safeguard the digital map of the school. The institution’s security must be able to handle and safeguard the school against different breaches like the following:
- Data breaches
- DDoS attacks
- Malware attacks
- Ransomware attacks
Cybercrimes are at an all-time high and keeping your data safe has gotten more challenging than ever. To truly be able to safeguard your school, you should be prepared for all threats in advance. This is why you should have a secure anti-breach system installed that can prevent attacks and accidents from happening. Providing necessary training to the users of your network and implementing secure authentication can protect your network from criminals.
Author’s Bio – Eric Wyatt
Eric Wyatt is a software engineer who has been a guest lecturer at universities. He conducts workshops where he educates students about cybersecurity and hopes to put an end to dangerous cyber crimes in the education sector. He also writes a byline in a local newspaper about the same topic and continues to educate people.