Hackers are most certainly some of the smartest and skilled people on the web. It’s when they start using their skills to blackmail others and stealing sensitive data that they become a threat. And it’s very important to keep away from their radar since they will launch malware attacks wherever they will see a possibility. And the current favorite targets of hackers are educational institutions. 

Why? 

The most common reasons behind this sudden shift of interest are as follows. 

  • COVID suddenly pushed the educational sector online. Since they are new on the web, they are more vulnerable and much easier to hack. 
  • Most people are still old-school. They either don’t know the importance of cybersecurity or they don’t think it’s necessary to follow cybersecurity techniques. 

Whatever the reason is, the truth is just one – hackers find the weaker links and use malware like ransomware to steal money.

What’s ransomware? 

Ransomware is a special kind of malware. Here’s what it feels like to get one. 

  • If it enters a system, all the data available turns into an encrypted file – you can’t view or use it. 
  • What you’ll instead see is a warning sign – the data is encrypted and in order to get it back you’ll have to pay a hefty ransom. 

It’s scarier than it sounds since it’s not just money that hackers demand. Every other type of sensitive information about the organization – even the identity of the users – is at the disposal of the hackers. So, even after you pay the ransom or an IT security expert is able to retrieve the data without you having to pay the ransom, the hackers still get enough time to:

  • Steal the credentials of all users.
  • The stolen information is then used to launch an even more dangerous kind of phishing attack that’s called spear phishing. 

Now that you have a fair amount of idea how malware attacks can harm you and others, here’s what you can do.

  • Never click on outbound emails. No matter how genuine the source looks, no matter if it showed up in your inbox not in the spam folder, just don’t open it if it’s coming from a source you don’t recognize. Teach your employees to do the same. 
  • Practice network segmentation even, and specially, for remote workers. 
  • Encourage the use of multi factor authentication. 
  • Report any kind of suspicious activity to the cybersecurity team as soon as you can. 
  • Male a reliable communication chain to spread the news of an attack so that employees get off their system before the malware can be spread to other networks. 

So, as an organization, whether old or new, the safety and security of users is in your hands. Do the best that you can to protect their infomation. 

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