Top 7 cyber security requirements for digital education agencies
Institutions with digital educational agencies serve as the soft targets that hackers are looking for. Threat actors, who violate students’ rights, whether internal or external, can seriously harm students, staff, instructors, parents, and administrators. Digital education leaders should prioritize significant changes in how they safeguard their student’s and staff members’ personally identifiable information (PII) and by constructing proper cyber security.
Top 7 Cyber Security Requirements or Priorities for digital education:
Network and Data Monitoring
If managed properly, network and data monitoring can spot malicious activity. Usually, this priority is handled by a team of technology and IT administrators or by an external cyber security service like Critical Insight. Crypto-mining instances have occurred in schools all throughout the United States; if the network is properly watched for typical activity, these incidents can be found. By identifying impacted assets that need to be quarantined, proper monitoring can aid in the prevention of security breaches. Monitoring the network and assessing alarms sent out by makers of on-campus equipment requires trained IT personnel.
Incident Detection and Response
330,000 professional school employees in Pennsylvania’s public schools have personal information stored in the state’s Teacher Information Management System. On February 22, 2018, the governor’s Office of Administration’s website may have been compromised for 30 minutes as a result of human mistake. As part of the quick response, the website was taken down, impacted users were given a year of free credit monitoring, and a plan was created to fix the problem and stop such occurrences in the future. Although it’s unclear how the event was discovered (presumably by a TIMS user), the PA Department of education’s detection and response capabilities were crucial in this situation.
Vulnerability Scanning and Patch Management
Exploits on known vulnerabilities can be stopped with regular vulnerability scanning. The effectiveness of vulnerability scanning technology depends on the organization’s commitment to implementation; if the equipment is outdated, schools might put off correcting well-known issues. Additional cyber security measures, network segmentation, and stop-gap technologies should be implemented to secure legacy systems if an upgrade is not feasible due to a lack of funding. For schools, closing security gaps is a serious issue. New research discovered a few of school districts around the US have not yet patched for WannaCry/EternalBlue a full two years after Microsoft published emergency updates to address the vulnerability. Following the cyber-attack on the City of Baltimore, that vulnerability was in the news.
Schools should use a standardized framework, such as the NIST-CSF, to determine and put in place the proper levels of protective controls. A data loss prevention strategy, an application firewall, URL filtering, email security, vulnerability management, and antivirus software are examples of standard measures.
Access to campus technology is physically restricted as part of protective procedures. A University of Iowa student changed his own and five other students’ grades by using a physical key logger to obtain login information and gain access to the school’s network. The risk of physical key loggers can be reduced by using keyword encryption software, virtual keyboards for password logins, and behavioral analysis software capable of spotting key logger behavior, even though anti-virus software can identify software-based key loggers as malware. Physical access to on-campus computers can be improved with simple steps such as monitoring access to computer rooms and using privacy filters on computer monitors.
Security Awareness Training and User Digital education
It might be simple to phish school staff that is unaware. As an illustration, in the beginning of 2018, a member of the financial team of the Rockdale Independent School District got a “sophisticated” phishing email from someone posing as the head of the institution. The staff member granted the threat actor’s request for 300+ district employees’ W-2 tax forms. In the end, this led to massive tax fraud and employee identity theft. Security awareness training programs can generate on average a 20% use reduction in clicks on harmful emails, links, and attachments. In 2018, 45% of events involving digital education were carried out or started by someone associated with the impacted institution, including both intentional and inadvertent personnel and students. All users, including academics, staff, students, and administrators, could thus gain from receiving digital security training on cyber security best practices.
Password Management Policies
In schools, policies governing passwords are frequently absent or not implemented. Smart students are eager to exploit staff members in order to alter grades or simply gain access. In one instance, a faculty member gave a student access to an administrative login. The student then discovered IT staff was using default passwords to push updates across the entire district by using privilege escalation techniques. A policy with password requirements, multi-factor authentication, and enforcement measures can prevent both students and malicious actors from gaining unauthorized access to sensitive information or essential service functions. Administrators of urban schools claim that this project has moved up in importance on their list of cyber security initiatives, but the implementation of such policies is behind in rural schools.
IT Security Governance
In 2019, 35% of reported breaches in digital education were attributable to, “miscellaneous errors” committed by people. Two-factor authentication on web servers is a baseline security control. To address this, digital educational institutions and districts should “clean up human error to the best extent possible – then establish a baseline level of security around internet-facing assets like web servers.” Leaders, department heads, and IT professionals may align and enforce the top security priorities with IT security governance to drastically reduce incidents brought on by human error.