As reported recently, Vice Society have heavily targeted educational establishments in the US and UK over the past year. However, growing trends in the threat landscape suggest that other ransomware groups are now also favouring the education sector as a target, including BianLian and Hive.
Since surfacing in the threat landscape in July, BianLian have gained significant momentum listing 52 victims on their leak site including six schools. The group initially showed an interest in the legal sector but have recently shifted their attention.
Another group who has shown increased attention to the education sector is Hive, a high-profile group who have listed 203 victims on their leak site but are believed to have targeted more than 1300 victims.
Though the group have previously actively targeted several sectors, it is notable that the last two victims posted on their leak site are US colleges/schools.
Similar to the legal sector, which has previously been a significant target for ransomware operations, educational establishments hold sensitive data and therefore appear attractive targets for ransomware operators.
By targeting schools and colleges, threat actors perceive attacks to be more lucrative due to the increased desire for such organisations to protect the data of students.
As a result of this, throughout the remainder of 2022 and as a new year begins, it is likely that the targeting of the education will continue and more victims from the sector will be listed on ransomware leak sites.
Aside from holding sensitive assets, schools remain a favoured target due to the belief that such establishments have low security controls thus, are easier targets. As more schools and colleges fall under attack, there is a realistic possibility that other organisations could be indirectly affected.
Ransomware: what you need to know
Still unsure about ransomware and how dangerous it can be? Have a read of our 'what you need to know' blog which will help you understand it.
Report all Fraud and Cybercrime to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040 or online. Forward suspicious emails to email@example.com. Report SMS scams by forwarding the original message to 7726 (spells SPAM on the keypad).