Educational organizations are being forced to transform rapidly due to the pandemic, and cybercriminals are taking advantage. A secure network infrastructure can be the solution.
The pandemic has forced many sectors to transform the way they work, and educational organizations are no exception. Cybercriminals have taken advantage of this rapid forced transformation to specifically target this sector. Security applied to the entire infrastructure used to be considered an asset to have “just in case”… Now it’s an absolute necessity.
Like hospitals, banks and financial platforms, educational institutions face the problem of cyber attacks.
The difficult transition to homeschooling during the various lockdowns has given cybercriminals the opportunity to carry out targeted attacks. According to Check Point research, in 2021 the education sector experienced the highest number of cyberattacks, with an estimated 1,605 attacks per organization each week — a 75% increase from 2020. Combating Information Technology Crime (OCLCTIC), thus revealed that CNED – a public distance education operator – would have been the victim of a denial of service (DDoS) attack in 2021.
In this context, it is important that decision makers in the education sector rethink their cyber security strategy and take the necessary measures to create a safer and better designed cyber environment for young people.
Secure network infrastructure to protect learning environments
The pandemic and global conflicts create a chaotic context. Cybercriminals are taking advantage of this and organizations in the education sector must act quickly to implement strategies and technologies to protect their students and staff and maintain a safe and continuous learning environment.
The first step is to lay down a strong fundamental protective layer. One of the first approaches concerns DDI solutions (DNS, DHCP and IPAM). These solutions reveal previously undetectable network activity and enable educational institutions to regain control of their environment by closing the visibility gap that other tools fail to address and extending security from the core, from the network to the edge.
Going back to the example of the DDoS attack targeting CNED in 2021, this highlights the importance of DDI solutions, specifically solutions providing DNS – the first D of DDI. A DDoS attack can be carried out using a variety of techniques, including DNS attacks and in particular DNS flooding or DNS amplification. These attacks represent one of the most expensive cyber threats to control because they directly affect the availability of services that are critical to business operations.
Additionally, all 90% of malware hits DNS when entering or exiting the network. This makes DNS an important detection tool that can spot threats at an early stage and identify compromised machines. In this way, DDI enables IT teams in public sector organizations to quickly detect and fix vulnerabilities, regardless of their origin.
Become a safety-focused learning environment
While cybersecurity has traditionally been viewed as a “must-have” by many educational organizations, it is quickly becoming an absolute necessity. With the advent of hybrid infrastructures, new borderless IT environments require a robust approach to security. Security strategies must be integrated into every network architecture and every project. Maintaining the IT infrastructure in many educational institutions is still done with limited staff and resources. So building a team that can provide end-to-end security can take a lot of work. This is where network modernization comes in, helping organizations gain better visibility into their security infrastructure.
According to an analysis by the statistics service of the Ministry of the Interior, between 2016 and 2020 in France, 20% of legal entities victims of ransomware attacks are part of the education sector, as well as public administrations, health, human and social actions. Educational organizations still have a long way to go before they can meet the challenges posed by cyber security.
No organization is immune, and with school computer networks now extending far beyond the campus, cybersecurity must adapt as well.