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14 May, 2020 - 12:11 By Tony Quested

Darktrace AI protects student data as they learn remotely

Cambridge cyber security world leader Darktrace is cashing in on a lucrative new vertical market as the education sector globally uses its technology to defend millions of students’ data & research as they learn remotely.

Darktrace says a record number of educational organisations around the  world have done their homework to protect students from being hacked and sabotaged.

Only last month, a university in the UK was hit with an attempted ransomware assault – a kind of malware attack that strikes in seconds and blocks access to a computer system until a sum of money is paid to the assailants. 

Hackers tried to gain access to staff and students’ computers using their own devices via an externally facing server – using a mechanism typically used by IT teams to remotely diagnose and resolve problems on employees’ computers. 

Once they gained a foothold, in an instant Darktrace AI spotted the attacker attempting to move laterally and log into devices in order to encrypt files that were later revealed to be PhD student research papers. 

Having identified the abnormal behaviour associated with the ransomware attack, Darktrace’s AI interrupted the malicious activity precisely without disrupting the university’s normal practices.

With the use of EdTech on the rise, the personal data of students and staff, the painstaking work of researchers, as well as the very systems that make remote learning possible, are increasingly at risk in a world where data can be compromised more easily than ever.

“We are seeing more and more attacks aiming to undermine data integrity and in turn, organisational reputation, which can erode trust in the education sector itself,” said Richard Jenkins, head of information Risk Management, Cyber Security and Governance at the International Baccalaureate. 

“When it matters most, we can trust that Darktrace’s AI will fight back against fast-moving attacks in seconds but crucially also spot subtle and stealthy attacks, allowing us to have full confidence in the programmes we provide.”

Other organisations in the sector leveraging Darktrace’s AI technology include Eton College in the UK, Salve Regina University in the US and Girton Grammar School in Australia.

Darktrace’s self-learning AI is modelled on the human immune system and used by over 3,500 organisations to protect against threats to the cloud, email, IoT, networks and industrial systems. 

This includes insider threat, industrial espionage, IoT compromises, zero-day malware, data loss, supply chain risk and long-term infrastructure vulnerabilities.

The company is now valued at $2 billion and  has over 1,200 employees, 44 offices and headquarters in San Francisco and Cambridge, UK. Every three seconds, Darktrace AI – whose origins were in Cambridge University – fights back against a cyber threat, preventing it from causing sometimes horrendous damage.

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