Started by religious institutions, the education system and teaching style have changed significantly in modern times. Thanks to technology, distance and e-learning are possible nowadays. However, over the years, the education sector has faced various challenges due to these technological advancements. Cyber attacks such as phishing, data breaches, and identity theft are a few common issues the industry deals with. Fortunately, these threats can be minimized to a large extent, with a proper identity verification setup.
In ancient civilizations, various writing systems were developed around the world. In Europe, the modern education system originated during the High Middle Ages, and the Roman Catholic Church monasteries were the centers of education. While in the ancient Indian subcontinent, education was mainly imparted through the Buddhist and Vedic education system. Even in England, most of the schooling was managed through church schools.
We can say, in ancient times, most schools were based upon religious values. In recent times, the purpose and way of education have changed. According to an article published in Forbes, education and technology are evolving together. Schools and universities have started adopting more technology to teach various things. In the coming years, innovation in AI and Machine learning will help educators to read directions out loud, take attendance, grade tests, and more.
Distance education and e-learning are already in trend, allowing students to study without having to be physically available in a school. Unfortunately, there are many challenges to this modern education system, causing threats for students and educators.
This article will discuss some significant challenges of the modern education system and determine how identity verification can help education providers cope. So, let’s get started.
Challenges of Modern Education Sector
According to a report of K-12 Cybersecurity Resource Center, the ransomware attacks and data breaches on schools and colleges in the USA are three times more than that was disclosed in 2018. On 5th March 2020, the Icelandic SA imposed a fine of ISK 1.300.000 on the Breiðholt Upper Secondary School for the personal data breach.
It wouldn’t be wrong to say that the education sector has become gainful for cyberattackers worldwide. The primary reason is the personal data (personally identifiable information, health details, and financial data) maintained by schools about the staff and students is a hot commodity and sold in millions for fraud.
Let’s take a look at some recent stats of cyber attacks on students:
- As per a study conducted by DarkTrace, more than 100 Singapore-based customers face 16 times more attacks on the educational institution than other retail organizations.
- In May 2020, 8Belts, a Spanish e-learning platform, experienced a data breach, which affected 150,000 e-learners.
- In May 2020, another e-learning platform named OneClass suffered a data breach, which exposed the data of about one million students across North America.
- In June 2020, cybercriminals hacked the servers at San Francisco School of Drugs, California. Attackers demanded USD 1 million to provide access to data back.
Limited to No Dedicated IT Resources
Most educational institutions have a shortage of dedicated IT resources to cope with cybersecurity challenges.
The Changing Student Lifecycle
The roles of students in an educational institute keep changing with each passing year. Students are promoted to the next standard; some become alumni, while others become assistants to teachers. As a result, educational institutes need to verify and validate these new identities as soon as they transition to new positions or roles. It will minimize the risk of a security breach to a great extent.
Now let’s find out some significant reasons why data breaches to the education sector have escalated.
Why Cyber Threats to the Education Sector Have Intensified?
For a long time, the education sector assumed that it doesn’t have anything that cyberattackers could attract. Still, numerous schools, universities, and education systems lack the resources required to maintain a secure cybersecurity environment. In most education facilities across the world, they don’t have a full-time staff dedicated to cybersecurity. If a few schools have dedicated cells to deal with data breaches, their employees don’t have the expertise to manage advanced cyber attacks.
Some Popular Cybersecurity Threats Education Sector Face Today
- Social engineering attacks that include phishing are on the rise in the education sector. According to statistics, in 2019, 41% of higher education breaches and cyber-attacks were caused by social engineering attacks. According to CBC News, MacEwan University was defrauded of $11.8 million after a staff member fell victim to a phishing attack.
- Ransomware attacks that involve bad actors infecting data files and systems via malicious software are another biggest threat to the education system.
- Sometimes cybercriminals pretend to be someone else to gain access to a network and then spread Malware. This kind of attack is known as spoofing. It can happen in various ways, but some common methods attackers prefer are email spoofing and caller ID spoofing. To target educational institutions, fraudsters might target IP address, DNS (Domain Name Server), or ARP (Address Resolution Protocol) services.
- Password hijacking is another standard method attackers use to gain access to the user’s login credentials. In most cases, they simply gain access by guessing common passwords such as “iloveyou,” “sunshine,” “qwerty”. A report states that 73% of people duplicate their password in their personal and work accounts, making it easier for hackers to steal login credentials.
- Phishing is a malware attack that tricks victims into disclosing their sensitive information such as financial data, login credentials, and anything else that could be of high importance to hackers.
Identity Verification in the Education Sector
Educational institutes can benefit from identity verification in numerous ways:
Real-Time Identity Verification
An advanced identity verification system allows institutions to verify their staff and students in real-time and eliminate the risk of ID thefts. With the help of a powerful verification system, educational institutes can conduct checks on government-issued ID, driving license, passport, and social security number.
Easy Compliance with National and Local Laws
Instant yet advanced verification solutions also enable schools and universities to comply with local and national identity verification requirements.
Maintain and Improve Reputation
Not having a proper identity verification system increases identity fraud risk and is a bad sign for an institution’s reputation. According to a report, half of the hacked businesses struggle to attract new customers.
If you’re in search of an AI-enabled remote identity verification solution for your school, college, or any other educational institute, you can give us a try. We combine liveness detection, ID verification, and face recognition in a single solution to provide a powerful verification solution. To know more about iDenfy or see a demo, book a meeting with us.