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article imageFBI warns schools of cyber threats during COVID-19 crisis Special

By Tim Sandle     Apr 19, 2020 in Technology
Schools in the U.S. have been warned to be especially careful about cyberattacks during the the time of the coronavirus and the subsequent increase in home schooling activities.
The U.S. FBI has issued a warning about the growing threat of hackers targeting remote education platforms as schools and universities are forced online by COVID-19. This is in light of malicious actors escalating the intensity of their attacks, posting student information online to help identify targets.
The warning comes after the FBI issued two previous alerts. In February 2020, the FBI issued a Private Industry Notification (PIN) informing businesses about a potential distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack that targeted a state-level voter registration and information site. A DDoS attack occurs when multiple systems flood the bandwidth or resources of a targeted system.
In March 2020, a further alert was issued via the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center, warning about a series of phishing attacks delivering spam that used fake government economic stimulus checks as a lure to steal personal information from victims.
Commenting on these attacks, Scott Gordon, CISSP of Pulse Secure, explains that a 'Zero Trust' framework can help minimize schools from such risks."
This is in relation Zero Trust representing an important cybersecurity initiative to help safeguard modern digital environments by creating network segmentation, thereby securing essential parts of the network.
Gordon explains the current vulnerabilities: "With organizations being mandated to work from home, hackers are increasing efforts to exploit the vulnerabilities. Schools and universities that are navigating remote teaching and administration can be particularly vulnerable to malware, identity theft and other security exposures, and cyber threats have increased the risk to students’ medical and academic records."
As to the Zero Trust solution, Gordon recommends: "Invoking secure access capabilities is crucial for institutions to support their students while reducing cyber risk. By applying a Zero Trust defense approach, such as ensuring continuous user and device authentication, endpoint protection with self- remediation and encrypted connections, school systems can maintain a productive and safe learning environment during the coronavirus health crisis.”
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