Brazilian educational institutions suffer 377 digital attacks every week

One of the sectors most targeted by cyberattacks, education has been the victim of a growing wave of criminal campaigns in recent months. According to Check Point Research (CPR), in Brazil alone, an average of 377 lawsuits were filed against educational institutions during the month of July — an increase of 19% compared to the first half of 2021.

The numbers follow a global trend: worldwide, 1,739 attacks were recorded against the education and research sector during the month of July (a 29% increase compared to the first semester). In more than half of the countries assessed by the CPR, education is the most attacked sector in 94% of them, joining the Government/Military and Communications sectors as the most targeted targets by cybercriminals.

The security company’s data shows that, with a few exceptions, the trend in increasing attacks against educational institutions is global. In the UK they increased by 93% in July this year, followed by Italy (70%), Israel and Colombia (both with growth of 51% – the only places that saw declines were Poland and Spain, with 2% and 1% retraction, respectively.

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Image: Disclosure/Check Point Research

“Cybercriminals want to capitalize on this year’s back-to-school period. We found that the education sector was attacked significantly compared to other sectors in the month of July. Schools, universities and research centers are attractive targets for cybercriminals because so many Sometimes, they don’t have enough resources in relation to cybersecurity”, explains Claudio Bannwart, regional director of Check Point Software Brazil.

Distance learning increased the risks

According to Bannwart, the move to remote learning by many institutions since 2019 has increased the security problems they face. As many students and teachers log into systems using personal devices and over unsecured networks, new holes and vulnerabilities open up that not everyone is prepared to deal with.

Image: Disclosure/Check Point Research

“Education institutions must be proactive in their protection strategies. It is important to constantly change and strengthen your passwords and use technologies that prevent cyber attacks, such as ransomware”, advises the security expert. Check out some CPR tips to keep yourself protected:

Use strong, unique passwords – an easy shared combination can be handy to remember, but it also means a criminal will have access to your entire digital life if it’s compromised; Beware of phishing – watch out for suspicious attachments and links that use educational institution-like addresses and images to expose people to malicious environments and links; Use Encrypted Systems – Always use communication platforms that have end-to-end encryption, and observe compliance with corporate policies that ensure endpoint security.

CPR also recommends that educational institutions adopt containment and containment systems that prevent the lateral movement of threats—thus preventing an infected machine from being a point of infection for the entire network to which it connects. By isolating compromised devices, it is possible to work on remediating the damage caused, as well as analyzing and sterilizing the environment to avoid being harmed by other attacks.

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