Cybersecurity Awareness: Must For Edtech Ecosystem In India

It is crucial for schools and universities to invest in safe and secure learning environments and help their students get the best digital learning in all possible ways

Ransomeware Threat For Enterprise

After the pandemic, it’s not just remote working that has become a new normal but remote learning too has picked up pace amongst institutions and students. Digital classrooms have become a staple in many schools. Online classes have become a part of University Education. Professionals too can upskill themselves through various e-learning platforms that offer advanced courses. Many corporates are using such digital platforms to train their employees.  

However, these sudden changes in the education sector have found the users unprepared for cyberattacks that are targeting e-learning. In August 2020, the University of Mumbai’s Institute of Open and Distance Learning called off its exams after its server was hit by a cyberattack. According to Check Point Research’s study, the Education and Research sector experienced the highest volumes of attacks in 2021 and 2022 worldwide.

Unlike large corporates that are equipped with security fortresses, educational institutions due to lack of awareness, budget challenges and limited resources don’t focus adequately on security and hence can become easy targets for cyberattacks. Online education is a fairly new concept in India and the importance of cybersecurity is yet to be prioritised.

Targeting personal data

Educational technology in schools and universities often involves smart classes, automated attendance and ERP. While the shift towards digital learning has undoubtedly multiple advantages for humankind, we cannot ignore the fact that it comes with its own set of problems.

According to Check Point Research’s study, Education and Research still lead as the most targeted industry, with an average of 2,297 attacks against organizations every week in the first half of 2022, showing a 44 per cent increase compared to the first half of 2021.  

It has been found that personal data stolen from Edtech platforms are frequently sold on the dark web. Cybercriminals steal the personal information of staff, students and parents to demand ransom or even threaten to tarnish the reputation of institutions.

Better be secure than be hacked

A bigger help before raising security standards of the e-learning ecosystem is self-precautionary measures. As we continue to equip ourselves with the highest security measures for e-learning, it will be futile if we don’t educate users on the dos and don’ts of the internet.

Safety tips for students:

· Ensure that the webcam and microphones are blocked when the class is not in session

· No personal information should be visible on the camera

· Strong password is a strong deterrent for hackers to enter the system

· Clicking on meeting links that are only shared by the host team and clicking on only trusted links

· Avoid clicking on random popups that appear fishy during any of the sessions

· Never share confidential information through online tools.  

Importance of Cyber Education

Personal data from schools and especially, big-scale academic institutions are lucrative for hackers to misuse. It is the responsibility of these institutions to conduct workshops for students and even their parents, on the risks of being targeted by malicious actors online and on various suspicious platforms to avoid.

From teaching them to recognise fishy emails to helping them understand the best practices to store and share information, these workshops can prove to be truly effective in raising the security standards of remote or digital learning. It is crucial for schools and universities to invest in safe and secure learning environments and help their students get the best digital learning in all possible ways.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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