Education is not up to par when it comes to ransomware protection

Major ransomware attacks are frequently in the news and, with groups behind the US fuel pipeline attack reporting to have earnt $90m in the last nine months, it is easy to understand why these attacks keep growing.

You would think that wealthy financial services companies are a prime target. However, the education sector has come under fire with countless high-profile ransomware attacks in the last six months alone. And to add even more anxiety, educational institutions are now being threatened with the theft of students’ and parents’ personal data which will only be released if ransoms are paid.

This trend is supported by incident statistics, collected by the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) – the UK’s data protection regulator, listing education as the sector with the third highest number of ransomware incidents, falling just behind manufacturing and financial services.

The volume of attacks has reached such an extent that the UK government’s cybersecurity organisation, the NCSC, and the Department for Education (DfE) have issued official warnings that the education sector is being targeted and it needs to increase its level of protection.

The general opinion within the cybersecurity industry is that most successful attacks are opportunistic, casting their net wide enough to see what damage they can wreak. So, if the statistics from the ICO show this trend points towards the education sector, why is it considered such a big target?

Cybercriminals are most likely to target organisations based on how big an impact ransomware will cause, how likely an organisation is to pay up and how easy it will be to break in. I’m confident cybercriminals don’t believe schools, multi-academy trusts or universities have deep pockets, so the only conclusion must be that they think education is an easy target that will still cause a large impact.

I’m confident cybercriminals don’t believe schools, multi-academy trusts or universities have deep pockets, so the only conclusion must be that they think education is an easy target that will still cause a large impact

If a small organisation is shut down because of ransomware, it’s unlikely to make headline news. However,…


CenturyLink partners with McAfee to provide home digital protection for new customers

Protect yourself from online attacks that threaten your identity, your files, your system, and your financial well-being.

McAfee and CenturyLink announced that CenturyLink has selected McAfee to provide complete home digital protection for new customers of the company’s leased modems. For qualifying CenturyLink consumer and small business customers, innovative protection from McAfee is now available as soon as they plug their modem into the wall and connect to the internet, providing them with strong protection for their internet connected devices.

Additional consumer device protection is available on-demand for PC’s, tablets and Smartphones by downloading client software. This partnership reflects both companies’ objectives to deliver maximum value, security and connectivity to customers. As a result, McAfee and CenturyLink are extending and expanding their existing partnership.

Through its partnership with CenturyLink, McAfee has protected users from over 40 million malicious events while presenting over 9 million warning pages for participating CenturyLink customers who would have otherwise visited unsafe web sites since March of this year alone.

According to McAfee’s 2021 Consumer Security Mindset: Travel Edition, 76% of people connect more to the internet today than they did prior to the onset of COVID-19, and 62% perceive Wi-Fi networks as the most vulnerable to cyber threats. Many Internet Service Providers (ISPs) do not offer modem security, leaving users potentially vulnerable to attackers seeking to profit from vulnerabilities in an increasingly digital-first world.

“Delivering easy-to-use, holistic security for consumers and small businesses is critical to McAfee’s vision for personal, home and business protection – and most importantly, protecting people,” said Pedro Gutierrez, SVP Global Consumer Sales & Operations at McAfee. “Through our collaboration with CenturyLink to expand in and out of home integrated security for their customers, modem users now have access to a full suite of security capabilities to protect themselves and their families.”

Consumers using a compatible CenturyLink modem have access to Secure WiFi and device security capabilities provided by McAfee Secure Home Platform and McAfee Multi Access. These features are purpose-built to…


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