School internet blocks 2.3 million security threats every day

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The national internet service for schools, the Network for Learning, was blocking 1,592 security threats per minute last year.

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The network’s report says internet usage at the 2,450 state and integrated state schools it covers increased 32 percent in the second semester of last year compared to the first semester when schools were been closed for several weeks by the national pandemic lockdown.

He said streaming sites such as YouTube and Netflix accounted for 24% of the data consumed by the network in the last six months of 2020, and that school internet users spent the most time on Google-owned sites, Apple and Microsoft.

The report says schools faced 17% more cybersecurity threats in the second semester of last year and the network was blocking 2.3 million threats per day, more than half of which were in high schools .

The network also blocked access to 45 million websites every day, including 2.2 million that contained harmful content such as pornography or violence.

The report says 25 percent of the blocks were for file sharing and storage websites, 20 percent were gaming websites, and 14 percent were social networking or instant messaging sites.

Network for Learning chief executive Larrie Moore told RNZ the organization was blocking more security threats and more sites that schools had deemed distracting.

“By default we block 14 categories and then on top of that we work with schools and they tell us what other categories they want to block.

“So, for example, some schools might choose to block social media and other schools might choose to block social media and games and some schools might choose to leave both open, so it’s a lot schools that decide. “, did he declare.

“Usually globally you are seeing an increase in the number of security threats and we are also seeing that in New Zealand, so we are seeing a slight increase and we are also seeing more and more children connecting to devices on the Internet, we are also seeing a number of blocks for categories increase. This is not a massive spike. “

Moore said the network is blocking thousands of ransomware attacks every day, similar to the one that recently hit two New Zealand schools. He said one of the schools involved was not on the network for learning and the other had vulnerable software on one of its servers.

He said the network makes sure schools are well protected against such attacks.

Moore said data from the network showed schools were using the internet to access sites for students to collaborate with each other and broadcast media such as videos.

“They are using the Internet to support the delivery of education to learners,” he said.

He said internet use at school is increasing as more children have access to a device to use in the classroom.


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