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Cyber Attacks on Education - a Worldwide Problem

Introduction to the Topic

Did you know that education is one of the top targets for hackers around the world? In all statistics and reports on the subject, the education system is always at the top of the rankings on victims of cyber attacks. Why is that? In an article on the website of the company Infosec, the author summarises some key aspects as follows:

A lot of personal data comes together in the education system that would otherwise have to be stolen from separate institutions, such as birth certificates, social security numbers, bank details or, last but not least, valuable intellectual property. This mixture of sensitive data in an IT infrastructure makes the field of education particularly interesting for hackers.

At the same time, the so-called "human factor", which is usually one of the main causes of security gaps in other areas as well, is particularly sensitive in the education sector: To a large extent, the education sector is dealing with children and adolescents or young people who use a disproportionately large amount of digital media, but at the same time fall into digital traps more easily and are not yet able to assess the consequences of their actions very well.

Another disillusioning reason for the susceptibility of the education system to cyber attacks is, of all things, its relatively open IT infrastructure policy. At public universities, for example, this means that every person who enrolls or every scientific guest has access to the IT infrastructure.

If you add all this to an education system that is always struggling with scarce resources worldwide - both financially and in terms of staff - where in schools, but also at universities, poorly trained teachers often have to take charge of many IT issues - when you put all of this together, it's an ideal target for hackers around the world.

In our web dossier, we provide an insight into the topic of cyber attacks and cyber security in education using a variety of sources such as reports, analyses, statistics and overview articles in various media. Both the topic of "cybercrime within education" and the topic of "education on cyber security" are examined. Furthermore, we provide examples from different countries on how they deal with cybercrime in education and cybersecurity education & training.

We would like to point out that a large part of the information that can be found on the topic so far comes from companies that are themselves active in the field of cybersecurity.

Our Top 3

Live Cyber Threat Map (Check Point)

The Live Cyber Threat Map visualises cyber attacks that are just taking place internationally, based on various data. On the right hand side, you can find further information, among others about the 3 most targeted industries. Education ranks in the top 3 rather often. If you have a small screen, the most targeted industries are hidden behind a small white arrow at the bottom of the page. Click there and further on the second of the white little dots to see them.

Reports, Statistics, Overviews

  • Check Point Research: Education sector experiencing more than double monthly attacks, compared to other industries

    Summary of the "Cyber Attack Trends: 2022 Mid-Year Report" of the Israeli company Check Point. Check Point's reports and analyses are among the most well-known in the field of cybersecurity. The company itself offers security solutions for enterprises.

  • "2018 Education Cybersecurity Report" by SecurityScorecard

    SecurityScorecard is a New York City-based IT company that provides IT security solutions. Among other things, the company published a report on cybersecurity in education in 2018.

  • "2022 Data Breach Investigations Report: Data Breaches in Education" by Verizon
    as of 2014:

    is a large US telecommunications company. It became known to a broader public in 2008 when the news channel CNN reported that employees of Verizon  had secretly gained access to the cellphone data of President-elect Barack Obama. It became also known as of 2013 with Snowden's first revelations about the fact that the US government routinely demanded the release of all connection data from the provider Verizon. Until June 2014, Verizon also acted as the Internet provider for the German Bundestag (German federal parliament).
    Verizon has published the Data Breach Investigations Report since 2014. It also analyses data protection violations caused by cyber attacks worldwide by industry.
    We provide you with the link to the 2022 report for the education sector. The text of the report is relatively technical, but also offers a comparison to data breaches in other areas (see "Intro into industries").

Report for the UK only

Articles in Different Media

Cybersecurity in Education in Individual Countries


The selected countries are considered to be pioneers or rather advanced in the field of cyber security.
United States of America (USA)

United Kingdom (UK)



Israel + Canada



Last Update: 13.05.2024  -

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