114% increase in attacks in the education sector in the last 2 years

With back to school just around the corner, Check Point Research (CPR) is seeing the highest volume of cyber attacks in the education and research sectors.

Hackers launched the highest volume of cyberattacks in the education and research sector in both 2022 and 2021, increasing by 114% over the past two years.

cyber crime

The shift to distance learning during the COVID-19 pandemic has increased attacks and allowed hackers to penetrate school networks. During the month of July, weekly cyberattacks by hackers on education and research organizations are twice the average of other industries

CPR shares new trend data by region and country.

  • 62% increase in cyberattacks in Latin America in July 2022
  • Brazil, France and Mexico were the countries that saw the biggest increase in cyber attacks
  • CPR informs students, parents and schools and publishes over a dozen cyber safety tips

Basic elements:

  •  The education/research sector experienced the highest volume of attacks on a monthly basis in 2022 and 2021 globally
  • In July 2022, the Education/Research sector has more than double the number of weekly cyber attacks compared to the average of other sectors
  • Education and Research continues to be the most targeted industry, with an average of 2.297 attacks against organizations each week in H1 2022, representing a 44% increase compared to H1 2021

Cyber-attacks in the education/research sectors by region


Regions with the most attacks

  1. ANZ 4.176 attacks per organization each week (7% decrease compared to July 2022)
  2. Asia 4.171 attacks (up 5%)
  3. Europe 1.861 attacks (6% decrease).
  4. Latin America 62% increase compared to July 2021


Cyber-attacks in the education/research sectors by country

Comment by Omer Dembinsky, Data Group Manager, Check Point Software

“Students, parents and schools are tempting targets for hackers, mainly because of the data they have. From grade books to electronic assignments, hackers have many more access points to sensitive information and data. Data is leverage for hackers and can be used to orchestrate ransomware attacks. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced a major shift toward distance learning. However, this shift has greatly increased the attack surface of hackers.”

"In other words, it is now much easier for hackers to penetrate school computer networks. All it takes is for a teacher, student or parent to click on a phishing email created by a cybercriminal and a ransomware attack could begin. Education and research is by far the most attacked sector, increasing by 114% over the past two years. With back to school just around the corner, we urge students, parents and schools to implement the highest level of cyber security practices. Cover webcams when not in use, talk to your kids about phishing, keep third-party apps under control, and more.”

Safety tips from Check Point

Advice for students

  1. Cover your camera. Turn off or block cameras and microphones when class is not in session. Also, make sure that no personal information is in the camera's field of view.
  2. Only click on links from trusted sources. When on the school interface platform, only click on links shared by the host or co-hosts when instructed to do so
  3. Connect directly. Always make sure to link directly to your schools' school portals - don't rely on email links, watch out for virtual domains in public tools.
  4. Use strong passwords. Hackers often try to crack passwords, especially short and simple ones. Adding complexity to your password can deter them.
  5. Never share confidential information. Students should not be required to share confidential information through online tools. They should keep all personal information away from cloud storage platforms.

Tips for parents

  1. Talk to your kids about phishing. Teach children never to click on links in emails before checking with you first
  2. Report cyberbullying. Explain to your children that hurtful comments or pranks delivered online are not okay. Tell them to come to you immediately if they experience or see someone else experiencing cyberbullying.
  3. Explain that devices should never be left unattended. Your children should understand that leaving a device in the wrong hands can be harmful. Hackers can log into your devices by impersonating your child online.
  4. Set parental controls. Adjust the privacy and security settings on the sites to the level of comfort you are comfortable sharing information with.
  5. Raise awareness. Cyber ​​security education is an important skill set, even for the youngest students. Invest time, money and resources to ensure your child is aware of cyber security threats and precautions.

Tips for schools

  1. Get antivirus software. By making sure your children's laptops and other devices are protected by anti-virus software, you prevent them from accidentally downloading malware. Turn on automatic updates for this antivirus software.
  2. Create a strong online perimeter. Schools must establish strong boundary firewalls and internet gateways to protect school networks from cyber-attacks, unauthorized access and malicious content
  3. Check third party service providers thoroughly. Schools should ensure that they thoroughly audit all third party platform providers they use. Monitoring the system, constantly. Schools must constantly monitor all of their systems and analyze them for unusual activity that could indicate an attack.
  4. Invest in online cyber security education. Make sure staff members understand the risks. Hold regular sessions for students to keep them abreast of the latest cyber security threats.

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