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IT Security Intrusions on the Rise in Education Sector

Criminals engaging in intrusion into information systems are getting much more efficient at what they do, according to a new threat report from data security firm CrowdStrike. And intrusions into academic systems are soaring.

The report, Nowhere To Hide, 2021 Threat Hunting Report: Insights from the CrowdStrike Falcon OverWatch Team, found that, on the efficiency side, it takes an intruder significantly less time to begin moving into other systems on the network once they've made the initial breach — now just 1 hour and 32 minutes, down from four hours and 37 minutes in the previous report, released in 2020. And in some sectors, that average is at less than 30 minutes.

The report is based on "data from CrowdStrike Falcon OverWatch, CrowdStrike’s … managed threat hunting team, with contributions from CrowdStrike Intelligence and Services teams, and provides an inside look at the current threat landscape, notable adversary behavior and tactics, and recommendations to increase cyber resiliency."

As far as the education is concerned, the sector saw an 80 percent surge in intrusions from this time last year and increased its overall share of intrusions to 5 percent, ranking sixth by vertical sector. (The largest vertical sector, technology, made up 17 percent of total intrusions, followed by telecommunications at 12 percent.) Education ranked fifth in targeted intrusions.

“Over the past year, businesses faced an unprecedented onslaught of sophisticated attacks on a daily basis. Falcon OverWatch has the unparalleled ability to see and stop the most complex threats — leaving adversaries with nowhere to hide,” said Param Singh, vice president of Falcon OverWatch, CrowdStrike, in a prepared statement. “In order to thwart modern adversaries’ stealthy and unabashed tactics and techniques, it’s imperative that organizations incorporate both expert threat hunting and threat intelligence into their security stacks, layer machine-learning enabled endpoint detection and response (EDR) into their networks and have comprehensive visibility into endpoints to ultimately stop adversaries in their tracks.”

More information about the findings can be found on the CrowdStrike site.

About the Author

David Nagel is the former editorial director of 1105 Media's Education Group and editor-in-chief of THE Journal, STEAM Universe, and Spaces4Learning. A 30-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art, marketing, media, and business publications.

He can be reached at [email protected]. You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at .

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