It’s back-to-school season, which means it’s time to think about … cybersecurity? It seems odd because the education system may not think of itself as a target for cyber attackers, but schools and universities have large volumes of personal and financial data.
That’s exactly the kind of information that hackers are looking to steal. And that means educational institutions have more to worry about than they might have previously thought.
To this point, the Department of Education recently sent out alerts to potential victims of an attack that targeted 62 schools, exploiting a vulnerability in an enterprise resource planning web app. Specifically, the attack set its sites on the Ellucian Web Banner Tailor, which allows schools to customize their public-facing web applications.
The attacks failed. However, the Department of Education believes these kinds of attacks likely won’t fade away any time soon. As such, students and school administration should be aware of security best practices to help them keep their personal data secure. We have five tips for students and administrators alike to help get them on the right track.
5 Back-to-School Tips for Administrators
- Assess your risks: Vulnerability scanning is a vital step in understanding which parts of your system are exploitable. Aligning these scans to mission-critical resources helps prioritize your security efforts.
- Get intelligence on your side: You need to know about the exploits that other institutions are facing and how they might impact you.
- Get third-party support: Managed security services can give you access to best-in-class security resources for monitoring, detection, and response. And this comes at a fraction of the cost of building internal systems.
- Get educated: Security professionals and organizational leadership can both benefit from gaining some cyber savvy. Courses tailored to your circumstances, as a part of the education system, can help you get the most from the cost.
- Stay up to date: You can make secure configuration automatic to keep it current and sustainable.
5 Tips for Students
- Use discretion on school networks: Be careful when accessing online resources over school networks. Refrain from accessing sites that ask for personal information.
- Be aware of phishing scams: Attackers use fraud emails and social media accounts to run scams aimed at spreading malicious programs or stealing data.
- Use available tools: Consumer VPNs, ad blockers and similar security tools can help you stay safe. But don’t get overconfident. Make sure you continue to use good cybersecurity hygiene any time you’re online.
- Be safe with your passwords: Don’t use the same password for different applications on your school networks (or anywhere else).
- Be wary of open networks: Be especially careful when using unsecured, open networks on school campus. These networks are especially vulnerable to attacks.
Lunarline can help schools and universities improve their cybersecurity report cards this back-to-school season. Contact us to learn more.