The FBI has just issued a warning about the growing threat of hackers targeting remote education platforms as schools and universities are forced online by COVID-19. Malicious actors are now escalating the intensity of their attacks, posting student information online to help identify targets.
With organizations being mandated to work from home, hackers are increasing efforts to exploit the vulnerabilities inherent to an extended digital ecosystem. Schools and universities that are navigating remote teaching and administration can be particularly vulnerable to malware, identity theft and other security exposures, as evidenced by the FBI warning stating that cyber threats have increased the risk to students’ medical and academic records, and that hackers are posting personal data on social media to assist other targeting efforts. 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 COVID-19 health crisis.