Cybersecurity and EdTech: How can EdTech organisations address the growing security challenges?

All players in the EdTech organisations must make sure that such data is secured, both at rest and in transit

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EdTech Businesses

An EdTech firm must understand the cybersecurity consequences they confront and develop procedures to minimize them because their sector works with education and handles personal data for a sizable client base, many of whom may be under the age of 18. EdTech is being used by institutions and organizations all around the world to enhance their services. However, it's also critical to recognize that the quickly expanding EdTech sector is susceptible to specific security issues that might be harmful. The significant effect that cyberattacks have had on the education industry is a trend that is seen in Seqrite's Threat Reports for 2020. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, remote learning has become more popular, which has increased cyber threats in this industry.


Unauthorized access

EdTech is currently developing an access-control paradigm. Classes are structured online, and students are given a set of access controls, such as passcodes/passwords, to enter these classes. However, there is always the possibility that these access controls will be mistakenly or intentionally disclosed to an unauthorized third party, which is a huge security problem.

After the pandemic, this became a serious issue. Individuals are hijacking ongoing meetings on the conference app, and other workplace collaboration technologies used in EdTech which are similarly vulnerable to unwanted and forced admissions. All educational software must have all of the most recent security patches.


Breach of private data

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) of the United States issued a warning in 2018 regarding the "unique" exploitation opportunities that the widespread collection of sensitive data, such as personally identifiable information (PII), biometric data, academic progress, etc., presented for cybercriminals. The FBI issued a follow-up warning in April 2020, stating specifically that "Today's increasing use of education technology (EdTech) and online learning might have privacy and safety consequences if youngsters' online behavior is not properly monitored."

The key lesson realized: EdTech businesses have access to a lot of private data. All players in the EdTech industry must make sure that such data is secured, both at rest and in transit, since the compromise of such information poses a serious security risk.


Downtime caused by disruptions

Since the EdTech sector has moved to the cloud, there are also inherent cloud security vulnerabilities present. Many instructors and students may utilize the multitude of devices and programs that link to the cloud without being aware of the inherent cybersecurity dangers. They could be vulnerable to ransomware or hostile hackers' hacking attempts, which might cause disruptions throughout the entire cloud. Within EdTech firms, ransomware attacks on the education sector have also increased in frequency. For EdTech firms, any of these interruptions might have devastating financial and reputational effects. Additionally, EdTech firms' IT managers need to demonstrate their dedication to

security by implementing top-notch cybersecurity tools that will protect users and the company from a variety of threats.


While EdTech companies are susceptible to a range of cyberattacks, the following are the most prevalent ones they encounter:

Cloud security lapses: The majority of edtech businesses rely on cloud-based technologies for their interventions. This assists them, among other things, in building a virtual data storehouse for analytics and simpler access. The danger of data breaches involving student and teacher personal information, as well as any linked financial and operational data tied to institutions using these EdTech programs, also rises as a result. Payments may be redirected to fraudulent accounts that hackers control using this unlawfully obtained information.

Phishing is one of the oldest and most frequent problems that modern internet users must deal with. In this scenario, a cyber attacker poses as a reliable entity to trick a user into disclosing private and delicate information, such as credit card details. Due to youngsters being obvious targets, phishing attempts on EdTech platforms are common.


Users are prevented from accessing the data or systems they typically utilize due to denial of service (DoS) attacks. The hack overloads the network with data and interferes with current services. This means that lessons will be disrupted in the context of EdTech since teachers and students won't be able to access online courses or study materials

Malware is software that is installed on a computer or server without the user's knowledge. It may take several forms, including adware, worms, and ransomware. Malware is used to steal data and perform internet crimes like extortion.

Zoombombing is a recent phenomenon in which unauthorized individuals disrupt internet video conferencing facilities. The use of technology is feared and learning is hampered by incidents like hate speech directed at students in online classes or exposure to inappropriate and harmful media.


The obvious question now is, why are educational institutions being attacked so frequently? What makes them vulnerable to a cyber attack? Here are some of the reasons.

Scarcity of resources or funds: It's no surprise that cyber security is one of the least prioritized areas in a typical educational institution. There are several areas to explore, but resources are limited. As a result of the budget loss, the IT industry is susceptible to a possible cyber assault.

IT has no set policy: Normally, there is a paucity of software and employees due to a lack of funds to spend on cyber security. As a result, a solid policy for utilizing the network safely and securely is not implemented. Without the necessary skills, this sort of policy is frequently impossible to establish, let alone implement. As a result, institutions are frequently managed without appropriate policies.Most users at an educational organization bring their own gadgets. IT professionals are already stretched thin, and with open, public PCs everywhere, they have an even more challenging task in securing this large network. Cybercriminals are increasingly targeting educational institutions, as a result, we must shift our attention in Edtech to cyber security.

The article has been written by Krishna Kumar, Founder and CEO, Learnbay