SecurityBrief Australia logo
Australia's leading source of cybersecurity and cyber-attack news
Story image

Cyber criminals target education sector as remote learning increases

By Shannon Williams
Wed 10 Feb 2021
FYI, this story is more than a year old

The educational sector is continuing to attract the attention of cybercriminals on the internet, according to new research from Kaspersky. 

The company says the sector is increasingly at risk as the COVID-19 pandemic continues and schools experience renewed closures or pursue a hybrid model of learning (in-person and remote).

From July to December 2020, 270,171 users encountered various threats disguised as popular learning platforms, an increase of 60% when compared to the first half of 2020. 

Last spring, more than 1 billion schoolchildren around the globe were affected by school closures as countries attempted to slow rising infection rates. For many, that meant a switch to emergency remote learning, a transition that, unfortunately, left many students and educators vulnerable to cyber risks

"Now, schools around the globe, from England and Germany to Malaysia and the US, are once again closing as countries fight a resurgence in infections, and, not surprisingly, this has led to some undesirable consequences," Kaspersky says.

From January to June 2020, the total number of users that encountered various threats distributed under the guise of popular online learning platforms/video conferencing applications was 168,550 – a 20,455% increase when compared to the same period for 2019. 

This number has only continued to grow from July to December, as discovered by Kaspersky experts. As January 2021, the number of users encountering various threats using popular online learning platforms as a lure reached 270,171—a 60% increase when compared to the first half of 2020.

The most popular lure was, by far, Zoom. This is not surprising given that Zoom is the most popular platform for virtual meetings, with more than 300 million daily meeting participants. The second most popular was Moodle, followed by Google Meet. The number of users that encountered threats disguised as popular online learning/video conference platforms increased for all but one platform - Google Classroom.

 About 98% of the threats encountered were not-a-virus, which is divided into riskware and adware. Adware bombards users with unwanted ads, while riskware consists of various files – from browser bars and download managers to remote administration tools – that may carry out various actions on your computer without your consent. Trojans made up roughly 1% of the threats encountered.

Users typically encounter threats disguised as popular video meeting apps and online course platforms through fake application installers, which they may encounter on unofficial websites designed to look like the original platforms or emails disguised as special offers or notifications from the platform.

“Unfortunately, until all students are back in the classroom full-time, educational institutions will continue to be a popular target for criminals, particularly since this sector has traditionally not prioritised its cybersecurity," says Anton Ivanov, security expert at Kaspersky.

"However, the pandemic has made it clear that this has to change, especially since technology is increasingly being incorporated in the classroom—virtual learning or not."
 

Related stories
Top stories
Story image
Cyber attacks
Dramatic uptick in threat activity with exploits growing nearly 150%
"While it’s not a surprise given increased attack opportunities like remote work, it’s still a worrying development and one we cannot ignore."
Story image
Cybersecurity
Australian IT security concerns higher than before pandemic
Australian organisations are more concerned about cyberattacks than they were prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new survey.
Story image
Gartner Magic Quadrant
Gartner names Lookout a Visionary in 2022 Magic Quadrant
Gartner has recognised Lookout as a Visionary in the 2022 Magic Quadrant for Security Service Edge (SSE) and one of the top three offerings in the 2022 Gartner Critical Capabilities for SSE report.
Story image
Machine learning
Sysdig releases CDR offering to combat cryptojacking
Sysdig has unveiled a cloud detection and response (CDR) offering powered by machine learning to combat cryptojacking.
Story image
Data breach
Weak breach data disclosure laws for IP theft leaves vital Australian industries vulnerable
Infoblox has seen unprecedented levels of demand for cyber protection from companies outside of the Critical Infrastructure Act who have discovered security events and those who fear falling victim to IP theft.
Story image
Network Management
Superloop helping Aussie K12 schools with latest offering
Superloop has launched CyberEdge, a new cybersecurity platform that will give K12 schools in Australia the tools to optimise, secure and manage their network.
Story image
Ransomware
Big business in cryptocurrencies and cybercrime
As of June this year, about a quarter (26%) of Australians considered cryptocurrency as a good investment, and over 36% have at one point considered buying cryptocurrency as an investment.
Story image
Remote Working
Cybersecurity concerns higher than before the pandemic - report
BeyondTrust's new survey shows Australian organisations are more concerned about cyberattacks than they were before the COVID-19 pandemic.
Story image
Healthcare
Why the Metaverse could be the key to enhancing the healthcare sector
The experts at Accenture understand that the programmable world is about building the next version of the physical world in healthcare, understanding complex layers in order to fully utilise technology to its maximum effect.
AWS Marketplace
See how managed security services (MSS) have evolved to Managed Detection and Response (MDR) and Extended Detection and Response (XDR). Learn how these new holistic solutions can simplify security management and improve your threat detection and response.
Link image
Story image
Data Protection
CyberRes partners with Google Cloud in lead up to BigQuery release
CyberRes, a Micro Focus line of business, has announced a partnership with Google Cloud to support the upcoming release of BigQuery remote functions.
Story image
VMware
Latest VMware threat report reveals truth about deepfakes
"Cyber criminals have evolved. Their new goal is to use deepfake technology to compromise organisations and gain access to their environment."
Story image
Compliance
Why security needs to shape your journey to the cloud
It's estimated that 80% of workloads could be in the cloud in the next few years. How can you make all that data secure?
Story image
Mergers and Acquisitions
Netskope acquires Infiot, delivers integrated SASE platform
Converged SASE platform provides AI-driven zero trust security and simplified, optimised connectivity to any network location or device, including IoT.
Story image
Web application firewall
Radware recognised in KuppingerCole’s 2022 Leadership Compass report
Radware has been named a Product, Innovation, Market and Overall Leader in the 2022 KuppingerCole Leadership Compass report for Web Application Firewalls.
Story image
API
Security gaps in APIs plague organisations - study
Together, the findings highlight that existing solutions and API security tactics focused on shift-left strategies are failing to adequately protect APIs.
Story image
Gartner Magic Quadrant
Gartner positions Commvault as Leader in 2022 Magic Quadrant
Gartner has named Commvault a Leader in its 2022 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Backup and Recovery Software Solutions report.
Story image
Open source
Flashpoint acquires Echosec Systems, elevates OSINT capabilities
Flashpoint has acquired Echosec Systems, a provider of open-source intelligence and publicly available information.
Story image
Government
Mandiant researchers uncover significant new disinformation campaign
Researchers from Mandiant say they have uncovered a significant disinformation campaign from the Chinese Government in the wake of U.S. Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Palo Alto Networks responds to rise in threats with MDR service
Unit 42 Managed Detection and Response is a new service that can offer continuous 24/7 threat detection, investigation and response.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Optic Security Group on Australia recruitment drive
Trans-Tasman security integrator looks to meet the twin challenges of high client project demand tight & labour market supply with new opportunities.
Story image
Data Protection
Cloud privacy, data protection more complex than on-prem
In the past 12 months, over a third of Australian businesses (36%) experienced a cloud-based data breach or failed audit. 
Story image
Gaming
Attacks on gaming companies more than double over past year
The State of the Internet report shows gaming companies and gamer accounts are at risk, following a surge in web application attacks post pandemic.
Story image
Ransomware
Ivanti and SentinelOne partner on patch management solution
Ivanti and SentinelOne will integrate their technologies Ivanti Neurons for Patch Management and SentinelOne's Singularity XDR platform.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Exclusive: NZ-based DEFEND offers global cyber protection
DEFEND supports customers in 66 countries across the globe with a relentless focus on ensuring that every dollar spent on security provides a meaningful return on investment and reduces cyber risk.
Story image
Firewall
Fortinet unveils compact firewall for hyperscale data centres, 5G networks
"Fortinet’s dedication to pushing the boundaries of what is possible in security performance has yielded the most powerful compact firewall yet."
Story image
SaaS
Claroty launches new cloud-based industrial cybersecurity platform
The company says Claroty xDome is the industry's first solution to deliver the ease and scalability of SaaS without compromising on visibility, protection, and monitoring controls.
Story image
Indusface
Why enhancing bot protection for web and API endpoints matters
The trouble with bots is that they aren’t all bad. Unfortunately, this can make it challenging to detect malicious bots that find their way into your system and threaten your business.
Story image
Malware
Research shows attacks on the gaming industry are getting worse
Web application attacks in the gaming sector have grown by 167% from Q1 2021 to Q1 2022, according to new research from Akamai.
AWS Marketplace
Learn how security orchestration, automation, and response (SOAR) enhances your security strategy.
Link image
Story image
Cloud
DCI plans to build new cloud edge data centre in Canberra
DCI is one of the first to commit to the Precinct which has a focus on defence, space, cybersecurity and high-tech manufacturing sectors.
Story image
Data Protection
Video: 10 Minute IT Jams - An update from SearchInform
Alexey Pinchuk joins us today to discuss the role the company plays in helping organisations manage risk and provide better security outcomes.
Story image
Digital Transformation
Dear boardroom, please don’t put digital transformation back in the box
Australian companies are years ahead of where they would have been – a position that the country is poised to take advantage of to do great things. And one that it risks losing.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Datacom research explores reality of zero trust in A/NZ
Zero trust is fast emerging as global best practice in cybersecurity and local leaders are on board, with 83% considering it essential to security.
Story image
Gartner
Veeam named Leader in enterprise backup and recovery
"We believe our innovation and ability to execute validates our solid standing as the #1 trusted provider of modern data protection."
Story image
Data Protection
VMware introduces advanced workload protection for AWS
VMware Carbon Black Workload for AWS delivers comprehensive visibility and security across on-premises and cloud environments for AWS customers.
Story image
Rubrik
Gartner names Rubrik Leader in 2022 Magic Quadrant
Rubrik has been positioned by Gartner as a Leader in the 2022 Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Backup and Recovery Software Solutions.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Qualys develops EASM capabilities for Cloud Platform
"Qualys unique approach to EASM is integrating the internal and external asset data from CyberSecurity Attack Management with its VMDR solution into a single view."
Story image
Privileged Access Management / PAM
The importance of stopping identity sprawl for cybersecurity
The 2021 Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR) shows that 61% of all breaches involve malicious actors gaining unauthorised, privileged access to data by using a compromised credential. Unfortunately, it is often too late when the misuse of a credential is detected.
Story image
Neat
Workplace design a crucial factor for better employee experience - report
The key to a successful workplace could be its design, according to research from Ecosystm and Neat.
Story image
Malware
Avast One extends protection with Online Safety Score
Avast One has extended its cross-platform support by adding its Online Safety Score feature to both the Mac and iOS platforms of Avast One.
Story image
Dark web
Beware the darkverse and its cyber-physical threats
A darkverse of criminality hidden from law enforcement could quickly evolve to fuel a new industry of metaverse-related cybercrime.