Check Point Research: Education sees 29% increase in attacks

The education sector saw the highest volume of cyber-attacks in July as cybercriminals are exploiting the industry’s rapid shift back to remote learning

Check Point Research (CPR) has reported that since mid-2020, they are seeing a steady increase in the weekly number of cyberattacks per organisation globally, with the education/research sector being impacted at a higher rate than others.

The COVID-19 pandemic forced organisations to suddenly move to a mostly remote workforce in 2020. Within a matter of weeks, organisations needed to adapt and update their infrastructure so that their employees, partners, and users could work from home. It is now mid-2021, and organisations in many sectors are having to deal with an increasingly active and complex threat landscape.

CPR found that in particular, organisations in the education and research sector are finding themselves engaged in a cyber security battle like never before. This includes schools, universities, and research facilities. Most recently, the Department of Education in Australia’s New South Wales reported that it experienced a cyberattack that resulted in many of its online platforms shutting down, just days before remote learning was to commence in the new school term.

The research found that in July 2021, education/research was the sector that experienced the highest volume of attacks, with an average of 1,739 attacks per organisation weekly. This was a 29% increase from the first half of 2021. The only sector which made a higher change from the first half of 2021 was Leisure, at 51%, as one might expect during the summer months.


Who were the most targeted countries in the education sector?


In July 2021, India experienced the highest volume of attacks with an average of 5,196 attacks weekly per organisation. This is a 22% increase from the first half of 2021.

This is followed by Italy, which had an average of 5,016 attacks weekly per organisation (70% increase); Israel, with 4,011 attacks weekly (51% increase); and Australia, with 3,934 attacks weekly (17% increase). 



The chart shows weekly attacks per organisations by country (July 2021 compared to first half of 2021).

In more than half of the countries in the list, education/research is the most attacked sector and in 94% of them, it is in the top 3 most attacked sectors.

By region, organisations in the education/research sector in South Asia currently experience the highest volume of attacks, with an average of 5,084 attacks weekly per organisation. This is a 23% increase compared to the first half of the year. This is followed by East Asia with 3,873 attacks (79% increase) and ANZ with 3,684 attacks (17% increase).



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