5 Most Common Cyber Threats to Schools

Cybersecurity is one of the vital concerns of our days. Cyber threats can become a headache for any individual or institution, and schools are no exception. While school safety has always been a number one priority, the issue with cybersecurity is rather new. Of course, cybersecurity threats have been a part of the conversation on school safety for a while. However, there is a lot of misunderstanding and disinformation that still prevail in the discussion regarding Cyber Threats to Schools.

Nonetheless, most teachers in modern schools are already well aware of the many negative aspects of the internet. They know about online bullying, constant texting during classes, problems with plagiarism check of term papers, etc. However, what they may overlook is the real danger of cyber threats to schools.

In order to perfectly understand the need for cybersecurity, it is only valid to start with the threats. That’s why we have prepared a brief guide that will touch upon 5 most common cybersecurity threats that are more likely to target schools. Cybersecurity is nothing but an act to block any digital threats and attacks and protect your website.

Here are the 5 Common Cyber Threats to Schools:

1. Phishing

Most cybersecurity threats start with so-called phishing. This is a technique when a person receives a seemingly legitimate email that asks for any personal data. Such emails can call for a verification of personal accounts, permission to use personal details, passwords and so on. Probably everyone had already had some negative experience with this kind of email. Don’t worry, these deceptive emails can fool even the best of us.

What you can do?

The solution here doesn’t require much. Firstly, it needs your focus and careful examination of any strange messages you are receiving. A better way to do that is to get a spam filter that should recognize all the spamming and phishing for you. Your email account also should have filters that send shady messages to spam boxes directly. Last but not least, even if all those steps didn’t work and you did receive an odd email, don’t click the link or do anything that it asks you to do. Mark it as spam, inform others on your network and move on with your day. A tell-tale sign of spam is that these emails ask for urgent action from your side.

2. Human factor

One of the greatest cybersecurity threats is, probably, human nature. Breaches in cybersecurity are most prone to occur to a human-caused error. Since, unlike machines, people are not perfect and have many factors that contribute to their decision making processes. This doesn’t always show the careless behavior of those responsible but a rather poor understanding of the cybersecurity as a process.

Most teachers in modern schools are already well aware of the many negative aspects of the internet. They know about online bullying, constant texting during classes, etc. However, what they may overlook is the real danger of cyber threats to schools. Those can be anything from stolen personal data to financial manipulation. Hence, the entire school personnel should be aware of such threats.

What you can do?

The solution here is a better reliance on security services and personnel education. School staff needs to be educated about the danger of such security breaches, the typical threats and the ways to prevent them. Additionally, it is always better to have restricted access to all important data, have security logins to the network and blacklist the majority of websites that are unnecessary for the education process anyway.

Source: Gettyimages

3. Spam Injections via Comments

One thing that is often overlooked is the schools’ use of the internet. These days most schools have their own online blogs, websites and official pages on various social media platforms. All these things should also be handled with care and control. Most of these blogs remain neglected with weak security measures. This not only makes them look unprofessional but also pose a serious threat to them. They indicate that you don’t know what you are doing and lack a basic understanding of the internet. This automatically makes you an easy target of hackers and even hecklers.

What you can do?

To prevent that you need to manage your online pages with intention, deeper understanding, and cautiousness. Use spam filters for comments on your blog. This will help block any malicious link injection on your blog and eventually your website.

4. Malware

Malware is one of the most common and dangerous cyber attacks. Unlike phishing, it is much harder to spot right on. It can take multiple forms and be spread through various methods. Often people notice it as some form of a virus that attacks their devices. Often they can have adaptive nature and change their codes in response to their environment. However, in the case of a common network, such as in school, it may attack the whole system as such.

What you can do?

The solution here is not to deal with it individually unless you are a professional. Malware can be very serious. Fighting it requires good knowledge of cybersecurity as well as good security systems. Additional measures can be limited access and whitelisted websites. In case of a hack, seek immediate professional help to check the damage.

5. Formjacking

Formjacking is a slightly different form of cybersecurity threat from all the previously mentioned ones. This form involves a criminal activity when someone takes over a portion of full control of a website by illegal means. This occurs due to security weaknesses that are found by a hacker. Often, such cyber crimes happen with a purpose to steal some important information, such as payment information, for instance. Sometimes, such crimes can even go unnoticed, as hackers may enter and leave a website without causing any interruptions in the work.

Source: Gettyimages

What you can do?

The solution here is similar to the previous one. Before everything else, such an attack requires a specialist to deal with it. However, some preventative measures are recommended. One of those measures can be running vulnerability tests, which should identify the weaknesses in the security system.

Conclusion

The purpose of this guide is, first and foremost, to encourage a further conversation on cyber threats to schools. As this article stated, the problem with cyber threats is urgent and potentially dangerous. This is why people, especially those who are responsible for the safety of our kids, should as well learn about cyber safety. In the modern world, it is impossible to survive without this knowledge.

Our wish for you is to be careful and more self-aware when it comes to the cyber world. A tool that can be most helpful in achieving this is a premium security solution like Astra. Astra firewall blocks these attacks, XSS, SQLi, CSRF, LFI, RFI, OWASP top 10 and 100+ other threats.

Take an Astra demo to see for yourself.

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About The Author

Jeff Blaylock is a freelance writer and an IT specialist. In his free time, he gives lectures at school about the importance of cybersecurity and the safe use of social media. Jeff is also an advocate against online bullying.

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