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How to Combat Cybersecurity Threats in Education Sector

Concrete archway at a university


The steady rise in cybersecurity attacks seen in recent years is spreading to all industries, even education. According to several reports, cybersecurity threats have become one of the most important issues facing school technology departments with 36% of districts spending at least 10% of their tech budgets on network security.

Not only are schools shoring up against attacks, education employees are dealing with threats as well. This month, at least 3 employees of Wichita State University did not receive paychecks after they were targeted by an email phishing campaign.

According to officials, the employees were asked for their university ID number and password, allowing the attackers to access enough personal information to divert the employee’s direct deposit payroll to another bank account. The university maintains that the school’s computing system was not hacked or compromised in the event, rather, the employees responded to an email that enabled unauthorized users to access their payroll information.

One recent study asserts that DDoS attacks against universities seem to point to a pattern indicating that students or teachers may be involved. The study claims that the majority of cyberattacks against education institutions are lowest during the summer and holiday seasons when schools are typically out.

As it’s almost impossible to identify who is carrying out these attacks or why, here’s how to protect yourself against them:

  • Never give out any part of your social security number, bank account, or passwords to anyone who contacts you.
  • If an email prompts you to fill out a form, double check with your IT department before entering any personal information.
  • Look out for email inviting you to open a shared file that you did not request.
  • Do not log into websites after clicking on a link in an email.
  • Think twice about giving out personal information, unless you initiated the call/email yourself.

For more information on your school’s level of information security, take our free online self-assessment.




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