School cybersecurity is not up to scratch, with less than half of UK teachers expressing confidence in their own institution’s efforts.

This is according to a survey of over 1,000 teachers conducted by Internet Matters with support from ESET, which found that just 49% felt their school had “done enough”, which 51% were either unsure or disagreed.

A third said they had received no information at all from their school on cybersecurity in the past year, and 31% said they had not received training on how to give advice to children about data and identity protection.

This is despite the lockdown forcing schools to shift to online lessons, making cybersecurity a greater concern for education than ever.

45% also said that they felt their pupils had greater knowledge of cybersecurity than they did, while of those that did receive training, 96% said they found it helpful.

Making the case for greater school cybersecurity awareness

While many of the most high-profile cyberattacks target companies, there is an increasing incidence in attacks targeting schools, particularly since the lockdown began.

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According to Microsoft Security Intelligence, education is by far the most targeted industry for enterprise malware, accounting for 60% of incidents in the past 30 days.

However, this survey highlights the fact that schools are not responding to the issue, which raises particular concerns for the online safety of children.

“Covid-19 has meant the face of education has changed and we must adapt to ensure children are safe in their online learning environments,” said Julian Roberts, head of channel marketing at ESET.

“Now, more than ever, tackling cybersecurity needs to be a top priority for schools as they may be increasingly forced to turn to the online world to support their pupils and their educational needs.”

It also underscores the importance of parents talking to their children about proper cybersecurity.

“We’re urging parents to familiarise themselves with cybersecurity risks head-on this summer as children’s use of connected devices is on the rise and devices remain vital to their education when they return to lessons,” said Carolyn Bunting, CEO of Internet Matters.

“Having regular, honest and open conversations with your child about both their personal safety and cybersecurity issues is vital in helping them navigate their online world safely and responsibly.”

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