Educational institutions are top of hackers’ lists
Amid rising attacks on schools and universities, the biggest challenge in education today is data misuse, says OmniIndex CEO, urging leaders to take every step to secure their sensitive data.
Over three-quarters (78%) of UK schools have experienced at least one type of cyber-incident, according to a recent National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) and National Grid for Learning (LGfL) audit. OmniIndex, the secure Web3 data platform, has called on the education sector to take steps to ensure its data is adequately protected.
Cyberattacks on educational institutions have been on the rise for some time. In early January 2023, it was reported that confidential data from 14 UK schools was leaked online by the threat actor Vice Society after they refused to pay the group's ransom demands. Just last week, the UK’s largest state boarding school Wymondham College announced it had been hit by a cyberattack and while it is yet to confirm if any sensitive data has been accessed, it did confess to anticipate ongoing disruption over the coming weeks.
Simon Bain, Founder and CEO at OmniIndex, has called on educational institutions to take steps to improve their defences against cybercriminals looking for an easy target: “One of the biggest challenges in educational data use today is preventing data misuse. Educational institutions are frequently targeted by cyber criminals as they regularly collect and store huge amounts of highly sensitive, confidential, and regulated information. With this comes huge risks and privacy concerns.
“While collection of data is a crucial part of the education system and can be utilised to support improved educational outcomes by identifying areas where students and schools may need additional support and facilities, when misused or mismanaged, educational institutions can face large fines and reputational damage that can have long-term effects on their success.”
OmniIndex recently partnered with Future-X Education, a provider of traditional Education Management Information System (EMIS) systems to thousands of public schools across Africa. Future-X’s EMIS systems are designed for the collection, integration, processing, maintenance and dissemination of data and information to support decision-making, policy-analysis and formulation, planning, monitoring, and management at all levels of an education system. The addition of OmniIndex’s security and privacy to its EMIS will help thousands more schools, students and teachers securely access and use the data they need.
OmniIndex’s platform utilises blockchain technology to enable a more transparent system for managing data. All storage within the platform is immutable, meaning any changes are instantly created as a new block in the chain, with old versions untouched and inaccessible to intruders. This enables users to see what changes have been made, by who, and when and crucially, data remains encrypted while it is stored, shared, and analysed.
“Considering the sheer volume of phishing and ransomware attacks facing educational institutions, any measures that can be taken to secure data further and protect their organisations will go a long way in deterring attackers. The potential consequences of such an attack mean that proactivity is invaluable,” adds Simon.