The global pandemic introduced a new way for students to learn; remotely.
Computers have been taking a more and more predominant role in educational facilities.
However, the arrival of Covid-19 and global lockdowns has meant thousands of students continuing their studies from home.
The most obvious issue with this was that thousands of teachers and students were suddenly online, connecting to each other, without a thought regarding cybersecurity.
In short, the education industry had to quickly adapt and bring in the necessary cybersecurity protocols.
It’s a process that is not yet complete, as the following cybersecurity education statistics for 2024 show.
- Education is the most popular sector for cyberattacks
- Cyberattacks increased in 2021 by 75%
- Over 1,000 schools had to deal with ransomware in 2021
- 27% of education facilities believe their data security is inadequate
- 42% of schools have staff and students that go around security protocols
- 41% of cyber attacks on schools were successful due to social engineering
- 30% of educational personnel have been victims of phishing scams
- 87% of education centres have been the victim of a cyberattack
- Data breaches in education have cost $4.77 million
- An academic record sells for $265 on the black market!
Top Cybersecurity Education Statistics
1. Education Is The Most Popular Sector For Cyberattacks
A recent study showed that the education sector has become the most popular target for cyberattacks.
While big businesses can offer more lucrative returns, they generally have first-class security, making them difficult to hack.
In contrast, education centers are designed to share information.
That means it’s easier for an attack to be successful and can still be a lucrative reward.
Unfortunately, education facilities are often low on funding and slow to respond to changing threats.
This has contributed to the success of cybercriminals in their attacks on schools and similar institutions.
(Check Point Research)
2. Cyberattacks Increased In 2021 By 75%
Research across the education sector shows that there were approximately 1,605 cyberattacks weekly in 2021, all of which were directed at the education sector.
That’s an impressive increase of 75% when compared to 2020.
Naturally, this increase is triggered by the ease with which schools and similar institutions can be targeted.
In most cases, their limited funding allows them to either upgrade the systems or improve cybersecurity.
Educational facilities tend to lean toward upgrading systems to give students the best possible experience.
That means cybersecurity isn’t improved, making it even easier for cybercriminals to get into the systems and steal data.
(Check Point Research)
3. Over 1,000 Schools Had To deal With Ransomware In 2021
Ransomware attacks are a very common approach.
In 2021, over 1,000 of these attacks were successful. The 1,043 schools targeted lost an array of data, relating to employees and students.
Cybercriminals know the value of the data and how much to ransom it for.
In most cases, it is cheaper to pay the ransom demand than it is to deal with the fallout.
It’s not just the financial cost of losing student’s data.
Data leaked across the internet can cause an array of issues when that data belongs to children.
In addition, the education center will suffer serious damage to its reputation, which can cause further financial losses.
All breaches must be reported.
However, the biggest issue with a ransom attack is that most places don’t get all their data back.
Reports suggest that 53% that the ransom is paid in 53% of attacks.
However, in only 2% of cases is all the data returned.
4. 27% Of Education Facilities Believe Their Data Security Is Inadequate
IT departments are responsible for data connectivity and protection.
Yet, reports show that 96% of IT decision makers and 27% of education facilities feel that their current data security protocols are insufficient.
These professionals also feel that the security of the data storage is inadequate.
In 71% of schools, IT professionals admit they are not prepared to deal with a cyberattack.
That means they have no plan to resolve the issue
Part of the issue comes back to budgets. Educational facilities have limited funding.
With so many demands on their funds, it’s not surprising that the data remains at the old data center, not a more recent and more secure option.
5. 42% Of Schools Have Staff And Students That Go Around Security Protocols
This creates a large problem which cybercriminals know to be an easy route into the education data.
The problem is that some staff don’t see the point of the security protocols or find that they are a nuisance.
The same can be said for students who are generally more focused on getting the computer to do what they want, not what its security protocols want.
Naturally, schools also have an abundance of computer specialists that can make circumnavigating security protocols easy.
Unfortunately, going around the existing security opens up new pathways.
An experienced hacker can use these pathways to find a way into the school system and start stealing data.
6. 41% Of Cyber Attacks On Schools Were Successful Due To Social Engineering
Social engineering is when a hacker scans the web to find out as much information as possible about you.
It’s surprising how much personal information is on the internet and, in most cases, it’s free to access.
It’s also possible that a hacker can approach your colleagues and friends to obtain confidential information about you.
Each contact may feel that they are not giving anything away, but all the pieces of information provided can create a substantial profile.
Once someone has collected all the information they need they can use it to launch a cyberattack.
The assumption is that your password will be related to your hobbies or something else personal.
This makes it much easier to crack your password and access the system.
It can be done via a phishing attack or using a password-cracking tool.
This approach is so successful that, last year, 41% of school cyberattacks used an element of social engineering.
7. 30% Of Educational Personnel Have Been Victims Of Phishing Scams
The more information a cybercriminal has about you the easier it is to create an accurate phishing scam.
Combine this with improvements in technology and you’ll find phishing sites are getting increasingly difficult to distinguish from the real thing.
That means, more people are likely to fall for phishing scams.
This is backed up by the latest Hiscox annual report which finds that 30% of people working in the education industry have fallen victim to a phishing scam.
To compound the problem, only 11% of educational facilities have increased spending on training to highlight the dangers of a cyberattack.
8. 87% Of Education Centers Have Been The Victim Of A Cyberattack
VMware has recently surveyed an array of universities to assess how frequently cyber attacks occur.
The research found that approximately one-third of universities are experiencing a successful cyber attack at least once per hour.
In most cases the data loss is minimal.
However, with 87% of education centers acknowledging at least one successful cyber attack within the last 12 months, small amounts of data can quickly become major.
In fact, in three-quarters of the facilities surveyed, projects were placed on halt due to infiltration issues.
It’s worth noting the survey found that, despite the facts, 73% of educational institutions were not prepared for a cyber attack, even if they had already been attacked.
9. Data Breaches In Education Have Cost $4.77 Million
Data breaches always cost the facility money. That’s part of the reason for the attack, personal details are stolen and can be sold to others.
Financial details can be taken and used, and cyberattackers can even demand a ransom to release the data.
The average cost of an attack and breach on an education center is $142 per record.
Unfortunately, the number of records that can be lost in one attack means that the average incident costs the sector $4.77 million.
10. An Academic Record Sells For $265 On The Black Market!
Educational records are worth a lot of money. At the moment, one record can be sold on the dark web for around $300.
In 2017 it was $245. By 2018 it had increased to $265 and it continues to climb.
The more in demand they are, the higher the price, and the more promising it is as a target for cybercriminals.
After all, $300 for one record is significantly more for a thousand records; specifically $300,000.
It is suddenly easy to see why education facilities are excellent targets.
Protecting Your School
Once you realize how dangerous cybercriminals can be and how easy it is for them to hack into your system, you’ll want to take steps to stop them from achieving their goals.
The first thing that education facilities need to do is to train the educators.
If they realize how easy it is for data to be stolen they will be more vigilant about the protocols and procedures they use.
This will instantly improve security and decrease the likelihood of hacks being successful.
Software providers are constantly monitoring their products and looking for faults and issues.
When something is found they will find a way to fix the fault or loophole and ensure the network stays secure.
In order for the fault to be fixed on your version of the software, you need to download the updated version.
All educational centers should monitor their software, be aware when updates are issued, and then make sure that all relevant parties update the software.
Use Virus Protection
Every educational facility should have high-quality antivirus and antimalware software.
This should cover all devices, whether local or remote.
Make sure your IT department has installed this and keeps it regularly updated.
Google estimates it thwarts as many as 100 million phishing emails daily. At least a fifth of these are suspected to be scams.
Some still get through which is why you need great software and highly trained staff.
It’s the simplest and most effective way to keep your data safe.
Putting the latest procedures in place isn’t enough. Digital security changes frequently.
The best chance you have of keeping the hackers out is to review your software and procedures regularly.
This will help to ensure they stay up-to-date and cybercriminals will target a different facility, one that is easier to hack.
The above cybersecurity education statistics are simply the tip of the iceberg.
There are plenty more facts which could be used.
However, the bottom line is the same, regardless of how many statistics there are.
Cybercriminals are targeting the education sector and you need to take steps today to keep your data safe.
Part of this involves installing the right software.
But, the bigger part is making sure that all staff and students understand the risks and what protocols they should be adopting.
Ensuring they are aware of this means the risk of a successful data breach is significantly less.
That’s good for the educational institute.
After all, data breaches tend to be bad financially and for your reputation.