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Cybersecurity Should Be Top of Mind for Colleges and Universities

by Jackie Davis

While most media attention is focused on cyber-attacks against financial institutions, airports, and government entities, colleges and universities are highly desirable targets for bad actors. Educational institutions house enormous amounts of data including personally identifiable information (PII) that is often targeted in attacks. As the number of cyber threats continues to rise, it’s important for higher education intuitions to enact a strong cybersecurity policy. Read on to learn more.

Chinese Hackers Target Universities

According to a recent report by cybersecurity firm iDefense, Chinese hackers targeted over two dozen universities in an attempt to gain access to maritime military research. The universities were sent phishing emails that looked like they were coming from partner universities. Once opened, they spread malicious ransomware.

The cyberattack focused on universities that studied underwater technology and had ties with oceanographic research centers. More cyberattacks coming from China, specifically targeted at colleges and universities, highlights how important cybersecurity defenses are for these institutions.

Read more here.

Cloud-based Cybersecurity

According to SecurityScorecard analysis, overall security protocols are being neglected at colleges and universities. Campus networks house a variety of devices with inconsistent security profiles including desktops, laptops, tablets, phones, and IoT devices. Higher education is susceptible to the same attacks as any other industry, but cybersecurity tactics aren’t in place for many institutions.

Security experts Brian Smith-Sweeney, the CISO for Columbia University Medical Center, and Cristian Rodriguez, Sales Engineering Manager, Public Sector at CrowdStrike, will explore the security issues facing universities in an upcoming webinar.

Read more here.

Managing Student Information

More colleges and universities are incorporating software platforms to manage student data. However, the cybersecurity is lacking, leaving networks open to possible attacks. Recent research ranks colleges and universities as third for cybersecurity attacks in the country, an alarming statistic.

Privacy remains a top concern for institutions with larger numbers of students and dictates how data can be used. Many students give their information and data away without even realizing it. By connecting to WiFi networks, social media platforms, and using school emails for non-school related sites, hackers can gain access to students email and passwords and then gain access to the school’s information database.

Read more here.

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