As a result of the ongoing pandemic, schools are being forced to close again or try to operate in a hybrid education model (attendance and distance learning at the same time), leaving the education sector a key target for cybercriminals on the Internet. Between July and December 2020, 270,171 users were exposed to various threats that were disseminated under the guise of popular training platforms. This figure represents a 60% increase over the first half of 2020. Kaspersky has now unveiled a set of digital tools to teach cybersecurity best practices to help educators work safely.
More than 1 billion schoolchildren worldwide were affected by school closures last spring when countries tried to do so. slow down the spread of the epidemic. For many, this meant a shift to emergency distance learning, and this shift has unfortunately put many students and educators at risk of cyber risks.
Schools are now around the world, from England and Germany to Malaysia and the United States in many places. they will be closed again as countries struggle to see another significant surge in the number of people infected, which, unsurprisingly, will have undesirable consequences.
2020. between January and June, a total of 168,550 users were exposed to various threats under the guise of popular online training platforms / video conferencing applications; this is an increase of 20.455% compared to the same period in 2019. This number only increased further between July and December, as measured by Kaspersky experts. By January 2021, the number of users bombarded with threats using popular online training platforms as bait had reached 270,171 – an increase of 60% compared to the first half of 2020.
The most popular bait was Zoom. This is not at all surprising given that Zoom is the most popular platform for virtual rallies: more than 300 million people attend Zoomos rallies every day. Moodle proved to be the second most popular bait, while Google Meet took third place. The number of users receiving threats under the guise of popular online training / video conferencing platforms increased on all but one platform – the one being Google Classroom
About 98% of threats were not viruses but riskware and adware. Adware bombards users with unsolicited advertisements, and riskware contains a variety of files — from browser bars and download managers to remote administration tools — that can perform various actions on a computer without the user’s consent. About 1% of the detected threats were Trojan viruses.
Comparison of users who are popular online training platforms / video conferencing platforms were disguised between January-June 2020 and July-December 2020
Threats spread under the guise of popular video hosting applications and online training platforms are usually faced by users in the form of fake application installers. They can be found on unofficial websites that look like original platforms, or in the form of e-mails disguised as special offers or notifications from the platform.
“Unfortunately, as long as all students do not return to the desk full-time, the educational institutions remain popular targets for cybercriminals, especially as this sector has traditionally not prioritized cybersecurity, but the pandemic has made it clear that this needs to change, not least because technology is becoming more and more integrated into education, whether Kaspersky’s security expert, Anton Ivanov.
To help educators and students use digital devices safely in the classroom, Kaspersky has compiled various tools, including a an online course that teaches best cybersecurity practices. The toolkit can be found here: https://kas.pr/smy6
The full report on cyber risks in online education can be found in more detail on the Securelist website. Here’s how to keep yourself safe from malware and other threats disguised as video conferencing applications / online learning platforms:
- Do not download unofficial versions or modifications of these applications / platforms. Find developer information and select official app stores.
- Before downloading anything to your device, always make sure you are visiting the official website of that company. Fake websites can look exactly like real ones, so always double-check the URL format and spelling of your company name before downloading anything.
- Use a reliable security solution, such as KasperskySecurityCloud, which provides a high level of protection on all devices
For all your accounts use a different, strong password. You do not need to remember all passwords, for example, if you use KasperskyPassword Manager, a solution that generates unique passwords and keeps them secure.
Kaspersky is a global cyber security company founded in 1997. Kaspersky uses its knowledge and security expertise on Internet threats to continuously develop innovative security solutions and services to provide protection for businesses, critical infrastructure, governments and consumers worldwide. The company’s extensive security portfolio includes leading endpoint protection and a number of specialized security solutions and services to combat complex and evolving digital threats. Kaspersky technologies protect more than 400 million users and help 270,000 corporate customers protect what is most important to them. More information: http://www.kaspersky.com/