Education and Academia


  • CISA and FBI warn of rise in ransomware attacks targeting K-12 schools

    December 11, 2020

    In a joint security alert published on Thursday, the US Cybersecurity Infrastructure and Security Agency, along with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, warned about increased cyber-attacks targeting the US K-12 educational sector, often leading to ransomware attacks, the theft of data, and the disruption of distance learning services. “As of December 2020, the FBI, CISA, and ...

  • K12 online schooling giant pays Ryuk ransomware to stop data leak

    December 2, 2020

    Online education giant K12 Inc. has paid a ransom after their systems were hit by Ryuk ransomware in the middle of November. K12 creates tailored online learning curriculums for students to learn from home while in kindergarten through 12th grade. Over 1 million students have utilized K12 to learn from home rather than in traditional public ...

  • Digitally Signed Bandook Trojan Reemerges in Global Spy Campaign

    November 30, 2020

    A wave of targeted cyberattack campaigns bent on espionage is cresting around the globe, using a strain of a 13-year old backdoor trojan named Bandook. According to Check Point Research, Bandook was last spotted being used in 2015 and 2017/2018, in the “Operation Manul” and “Dark Caracal” campaigns, respectively. The malware then all but disappeared from ...

  • This new cyberattack can dupe DNA scientists into creating dangerous viruses and toxins

    November 30, 2020

    A new form of cyberattack has been developed which highlights the potential future ramifications of digital assaults against the biological research sector. On Monday, academics from the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev described how “unwitting” biologists and scientists could become victims of cyberattacks designed to take biological warfare to another level. At a time where scientists worldwide ...

  • Baltimore County Public Schools hit by ransomware attack

    November 25, 2020

    Baltimore County Public Schools has been hit today by a ransomware attack that led to a systemic shutdown of its network due to the number of systems impacted in the attack. The Baltimore County school district manages all public schools in Baltimore County, Maryland, and is the 25th largest U.S. school system. Read more… Source: Bleeping Computer  

  • When Threat Actors Fly Under the Radar: Vatet, PyXie and Defray777

    November 6, 2020

    As security practitioners, Palo Alto Unit 42 researchers spend a lot of time focusing on the threat actors and malware families that leverage the most impactful exploits or affect the highest number of victims. But what happens when a threat actor goes “low and slow” to fly under the radar? One could argue that, in ...

  • Massachusetts school district shut down by ransomware attack

    October 8, 2020

    The Springfield Public Schools district in Massachusetts has become the victim of a ransomware attack that has caused the closure of schools while they investigate the cyberattack. Springfield is the third largest school district in Massachusetts with over 25,000 students, 4,500 employees, and more than sixty schools. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the school district opened ...

  • Alert issued to UK universities and colleges about spike in cyber attacks

    September 17, 2020

    British universities and colleges have been warned about a spike in ransomware attacks targeting the education sector by the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), a part of GCHQ. Academic institutions are being urged to follow NCSC guidance following a sharp increase in attacks which have left some teachers fearing they won’t be able to accept ...

  • Surge in DDoS attacks targeting education and academic sector

    September 15, 2020

    As education institutions across the world moved to online learning, cyber threat disruptions have amplified more than ever. Malware, vulnerability exploits, distributed denial-of-service (DDoS), phishing attacks have all struck this sector, increasing in frequency over the past two months. As schools in the U.S. restarted in remote learning mode, cybersecurity companies noticed a surge in DDoS ...

  • Fairfax County schools hit by Maze ransomware, student data leaked

    September 12, 2020

    Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS), the 10th largest school division in the US, was recently hit by ransomware according to an official statement published on Friday evening. The school district is also the largest in the Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan Area and it has a budget of $3.1 billion approved for 2021. FCPS has over 188,000 current students and ...

  • City of Hartford postpones first day of school after ransomware attack

    September 8, 2020

    Officials from the city of Hartford, Connecticut, were forced to postpone the first day of the new school calendar year after a ransomware infection impacted the city’s IT network. According to a statement published by Hartford Public Schools, the school district serving the city of Hartford, the ransomware attack impacted several of the school’s internal IT ...

  • Newcastle University students’ data held to ransom by cyber criminals

    September 8, 2020

    Newcastle University is being held to ransom by cyber criminals in an attack which has been disrupting IT systems since the beginning of the month. The cyber crime group behind the attack – known as DoppelPaymer – previously leaked documents online relating to Elon Musk’s companies SpaceX and Tesla. The criminals have posted stolen files from the ...

  • Digital Education: The cyberrisks of the online classroom

    September 4, 2020

    This past spring, as the COVID-19 pandemic took hold, online learning became the new norm as universities and classrooms around the world were forced to close their doors. By April 29, 2020, more than 1.2 billion children across 186 countries were impacted by school closures. Shortly after schools began to transition to emergency remote learning, it ...

  • DarkSide: New targeted ransomware demands million dollar ransoms

    August 21, 2020

    A new ransomware operation named DarkSide began attacking organizations earlier this month with customized attacks that have already earned them million-dollar payouts. Starting around August 10th, 2020, the new ransomware operation began performing targeted attacks against numerous companies. In a “press release” issued by the threat actors, they claim to be former affiliates who had made millions ...

  • New FritzFrog P2P botnet has breached at least 500 enterprise, government servers

    August 19, 2020

    A P2P botnet newly-discovered by researchers has struck at least 500 government and enterprise SSH servers over 2020. On Wednesday, cybersecurity firm Guardicore Labs published research into FritzFrog, a peer-to-peer (P2P) botnet that has been detected by the company’s sensors since January this year. According to researcher Ophir Harpaz, FritzFrog has attempted to brute-force SSH servers belonging ...

  • Using Botnets to Manipulate Energy Markets for Big Profits

    August 6, 2020

    Researchers are warning that a new class of botnets could be marshaled and used to manipulate energy markets via zombie armies of power-hungry connected devices such as air conditioners, heaters, dryers and digital thermostats. A coordinated attack could cause an energy stock index to predictably go up or down – creating an opportunity for a ...

  • ‘Lamphone’ Hack Uses Lightbulb Vibrations to Eavesdrop on Homes

    June 15, 2020

    Researchers have discovered a novel way to spy on conversations that are happening in houses from almost a hundred feet away. The hack stems simply from a lightbulb hanging in the home. The hack, dubbed “lamphone,” is performed by analyzing the tiny vibrations of a hanging lightbulb, which are caused by nearby sounds. All an attacker ...

  • NCA launches UK ad campaign to divert kids searching for cybercrime tools

    May 29, 2020

    The UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) has launched a new advertising campaign designed to divert young people searching for cybercrime services to white hat alternatives. As spotted by cybersecurity expert Brian Krebs, using a UK IP address when searching Google for particular terms that can relate to cybercrime, such as Distributed Denial-of-service (DDoS) for hire, booters, stressers, ...

  • Academics demand answers from NHS over potential data timebomb ticking inside new UK contact-tracing app

    April 29, 2020

    A group of nearly 175 UK academics has criticised the NHS’s planned COVID-19 contact-tracing app for a design choice they say could endanger users by creating a centralised store of sensitive health and travel data about them. In the open letter published this afternoon, the 173 scholars called on NHSX, the state-run health service’s app-developing and ...

  • Academics steal data from air-gapped systems using PC fan vibrations

    April 17, 2020

    Academics from an Israeli university have proven the feasibility of using fans installed inside a computer to create controlled vibrations that can be used to steal data from air-gapped systems. The technique, codenamed AiR-ViBeR, is the latest in a long list of wacky data exfiltration techniques devised by Mordechai Guri, the head of R&D at the ...