Woburn, MA – August 29, 2022 — Back to school season is traditionally a profitable time for cyber criminals as millions of students around the world are getting ready to make tuition payments, purchase school supplies, books, etc. With universities becoming more concerned about their networks’ cybersecurity, attackers find ways to breach these systems by targeting inattentive students, staff and professors. Kaspersky experts highlight intensified phishing campaigns with fraudsters exploiting the names of worlds’ biggest universities.
University-specific phishing pages are usually well-crafted and mimic official university webpages or online learning management systems. Once users visit false pages, they are duped into sharing personal information like account credentials, IP addresses or location data.
The importance of universities’ corporate account safety is often underrated when referring to organizations’ data protection. Famous educational institution names, some with critical research centers operating in various fields from political economy to nuclear physics, are used as a lure to distribute phishing pages. With governments and large corporations often purchasing research studies from these universities, it makes the sensitive data they possess extremely valuable for attackers.
By accessing students’ or employees’ accounts, the attacker may access personal information of their victims but also their educational plans, payment information and timetable of classes. This carries the risks of online threats transitioning to real life stalking and abuse.
“Education becoming more digitalized is a beneficial shift,” said Olga Svistunova, security expert at Kaspersky. “Not only will learning management systems allow students to maximize their academic progress in the most efficient way, but more people across the world get a chance to learn from best professors at the biggest universities. This also widens the spectrum of threats student face. Scammers are luring students to give away their personal credentials to access data containing not only unique expertise but also private and potentially compromising information.”
Kaspersky recommends the following measures to safeguard systems and young people against education fraud:
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