Harry Potter, Email Hoaxes, And Scams In The Education Sector

Cybersecurity For Schools 4 Useful Tips
Summary: Are you still waiting for your Hogwarts letter? Many Harry Potter fans still are. But if you receive such a missive electronically, it’s likely a phishing attack.

How To Ensure That Your School Stays Cyber Safe

Phishing attacks target professors, teachers, administrators, and students to a greater extent than ever before. 41% [1] of cybersecurity breaches in the education sector occur due to social engineering attacks, many of which use credible-looking information to duplicitously deceive individuals. If social engineers and phishers were included in Harry Potter, they would undoubtedly be in the Slytherin house.

Where is the Patronus charm when you need it? When phishing attacks infiltrate systems, they frequently lead to the installation of malware. This malware may then enable cybercriminals to spy on specific persons, seed a computer virus within a network, pinch files, or engage in other types of illegal activities. A cyberattack can cost educational groups as much as $4.77 million [1] in remediation fees.

The coronavirus has accelerated the volume of cyberattacks making their way around the web. As the pandemic worsened, schools and universities had to switch to large-scale eLearning platforms. As a result, the education sector saw a 30% increase in weekly cyberattacks during 2020, and attacks have continued throughout 2021.

Phishing Threat Prevention Now

As many as 30% [1] of individuals in the education sector have fallen for phishing schemes. Will you, your colleague, or your student accidentally precipitate an attack? Create a bright, secure future for your organization. From a cybersecurity perspective, here are 4 essential jumping-off points:

1. Ensure That You Personally Have Adequate Education Surrounding Cybersecurity For Schools 

Internet scams can shapeshift. They are continuously evolving. Do you know about the latest hacker ruses? MOOCs can provide basic cybersecurity information and reputable websites can present up-to-date information about the latest cybersecurity email hoaxes and scams.

Cybersecurity podcasts can also function as an excellent means of keeping up-to-date regarding the latest cyber schemes. You can listen on your way to work or as you make dinner at night. And, if you’re really feeling ambitious, ahead of attempting to educate others, you can consider obtaining a security certificate. Cybersecurity certificate programs are available across the web.

2. Cybersecurity Training For Staff

As many as 90% of data breaches occur because of preventable human error. Creative cybersecurity training and engagement initiatives can cut down on human-caused chaos. Consider holding informational cybersecurity lunches or workshops. You can also gamify your training and appoint cybersecurity culture leaders. Your tactics don’t have to be magical in order to work. Regardless of your approach, simply see to it that the cybersecurity message is clear.

3. Increase Students’ Knowledge

For younger students, lessons about phishing can be fun. You can use many of the concepts within fishing (the water sport) to discuss phishing scams. For example, like fishermen, hackers use hooks in their emails. And like certain cultures of perhaps an earlier era, they engage in spear phishing. A creative lesson plan can make concepts stick. At the end of the day, just be sure to reinforce the notion that phishing is serious.

4. Ensure That You Have The Right Cybersecurity Setup

As many as 71% [1] of education sector groups state that they’re unprepared to contend with cyberattacks. If this is your organization, consider whether or not you’re asking for trouble. Although your IT team may be very talented, cybersecurity is a uniquely nuanced beast. When it comes to cybersecurity tools, educational institutions should ensure that the following are implemented:

  • Anti-virus software
    When protected with anti-virus software, students' laptops, tablets, and/or other devices are protected from accidental malware downloads. Enabling auto-updates for anti-virus software can also help thwart attacks.
  • Anti-phishing technologies
    Seek out anti-phishing technologies that are low-maintenance and that auto-update. You want an email security solution that competently detects malicious content, that leverages language processing techniques, and that can provide click-through analysis.
  • Firewall boundaries
    Firewalls can protect school networks from cyberattacks, unauthorized access, and malicious content.
  • Third-party checks
    Educational institutions should assess third-party vendors’ cybersecurity. A vendor’s security can easily impact your security.
  • System monitoring
    Educational groups should ensure that IT experts continuously monitor and analyze systems, seeking to spot unusual activity. Strange network behaviors can function as a warning sign regarding an impending cyberattack. Consider a DLP strategy and solution. Critical features include automated data classification, multi-vector flow tracking, and user behavioral analytics.

“When in doubt, go to the library,” said Ron Weasley. In this case, visit your virtual library (known as Google) for additional information about cybersecurity measures designed to benefit educational institutions.


[1] Colleges & universities: Better results with these security practices