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As Schools Go Online, Cyberattacks Are On The Rise

The continued fallout from coronavirus in online environments has begun to trend upward in an environment that poses serious risks to both hosts and users: online schooling.

The continued fallout from coronavirus in online environments has begun to trend upward in an environment that poses serious risks to both hosts and users: online schooling. Schools, parents, and students need to take care, and take steps to protect themselves.

Source: Checkpoint Research

The figure above, from Checkpoint Research, shows a significant ramp-up (and spike) in Cyberattacks as pupils returned to remote classes, held via online meeting platforms and tools. Worth noting in this figure is the fact that this sector has always been more vulnerable to attack, but is even more so now.

“The urgency of the situation and the speed with which schools needed to make online learning avaccommodations is a kind of perfect storm for hackers and cyber criminals,” explains Emilio Simoni, director at the dfndr lab. “The numbers and the activity convincingly demonstrate that security can’t be taken for granted, or arranged last minute,” Simoni adds.

The range of methods used to attack educational institutions is similar to the kinds of attacks seen in the general population: phishing, ransomware, and malicious apps are all in play — along with the “Zoombombs” receiving more exposure and attention. 

If you haven’t heard: Zoombombs are unwanted take-overs of hosted meeting sessions by hackers. Note that the Zoom app is not especially vulnerable — but its widespread popularity as a meeting-host service has simply caused the name to be associated with the phenomenon. Distributed denial of service attacks (DDOS) are also common. These are purposeful efforts to overwhelm the capacity of a given connection or platform, and frequently they’re the “blunt weapon” of choice for ransom-motivated attacks.

“Of course institutions need to take steps to protect themselves with enterprise grade security solutions,” Simoni notes, “but teachers and student families have to be wary as well.”  Adds Simoni: “If you’re attending classes through a digital connection at home or on-the-go, you will want to have a personal solution you can rely on.”

For these purposes, dfndr security PRO offers a full suite of  capabilities, including:

Anti Hacking Protection: Anti-hacking protects users from malicious URLs and phishing sites. It also blocks scams directly on the SMS app, web browsers and messaging apps (WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger).

Safe App Installer: Lets you know if an app is safe — before you install it.

Wi Fi Theft Protection: Protect you WiFi connection and immediately be notified if anyone is trying to intrude upon or hijack you wifi connection.

App Privacy Scan: Know which installed apps on your device are malicious, or have already been victim of leaks. Also easily see the permissions granted for each app, and where they send data they collect from you.

You can use this link to learn more about dfndr security, and also consider upgrading to our PRO offering. You’ll be glad to know that Anti-Hacking comes with the free version of our solution.

With governmental funding for improved education-institutional security defenses still up in the air, the necessity for students and families to protect themselves is keener than ever.  

We’ll keep you posted on any specific / large-scale attacks, but for now, a good security solution should be considered a requirement for any online student family.

LEARN MORE BY TRYING OUT OUR APP: You’ll get Anti-Hacking protection and be able to see anyone who is priating your WiFi signal with our free dfndr security program. You can download it for free here, and try it out yourself!

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