Educational institution networks continue to be a favorite playground for cybercriminals. Because of the age and interests of the majority of educational users, these networks tend to incorporate cutting edge technologies and strategies. And at the same time, those students also tend to push hard against network restrictions, looking for workarounds to access data and applications that IT administrators may have restricted. To do that, a disproportionate number of users begin cutting their teeth on things like hacking.
In the first half of 2017, the education sector accounted for 13 percent of data breaches, resulting in the compromise of around 32 million records. Although educational institutions may not seem as wealthy or as target-rich as healthcare organizations or private businesses, they in fact house a great deal of sensitive personal and financial information, as well as valuable proprietary research data. But cybercriminals are attracted to these environments for more than just the PII data they can steal. Many schools now conduct cyber research, and can be a gold mine of information on vulnerabilities, exploits, breaches, and techniques. And where do you think the majority of cyber criminals learned to do what they do in the first place?