cyber security threats to universities

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8. Cyberattacks on higher education institutions are on the rise, Moody’s Investors Service reports. Universities have no choice but to take notice of what is now a very real threat, and ensure they have the necessary security measures in place to protect themselves against cyber criminals. When it comes to cybersecurity, further education colleges face a very specific set of challenges.. Wagdy Sawahel 08 June 2020. COVID-19 brings new cyber-security threats to universities. Link Security The approaches to implementing cyber security in higher education institutions. Why Are Organizations Failing to Report Cybercrime? How many senior leaders know what these are and what risks each poses to their organisation? Informed by my experience of two significant data breaches at the University of Greenwich, where I am vice-chancellor, this blog describes the most significant cyber security risks and offers advice for senior leaders and board members about how to mitigate cyber threats and the potential impact.. As cyber attacks increase in frequency and sophistication, this is an issue that colleges and universities are working hard to address. However, the consequences for the university were significant. The important thing is to do it now. This article explores the cybersecurity threats that the higher education space faces, as well as a range of solutions that can help colleges and universities combat future attacks. Attackers are quick to exploit any gaps in defences, whether they are technical or human. Combined with the fact that the security of universities may be seen by an attacker to not be especially advanced, this makes them an attractive hit. This is not always the case. The BRC recently launched a cyber security ‘toolkit’ for retailers that provides businesses of all sizes with a practical, step-by-step guide to prevent and manage cyber security threats and protect the customers they serve. The principle of zero trust is exactly what it says: nothing is assumed, every access, transaction or device is required to validate itself, upon every interaction, Educate staff and students as to how they can keep themselves and the data they hold secure. AI Collaborative Research Institute Launched, Smart Sex Toy Sales Surge Poses Security Risk, Tech CEO Pleads Guilty to Investment Fraud, Ransomware Set for Evolution in Attack Capabilities in 2021. we had to upscale our technology, training, insurance, auditing and general awareness. As cyber criminals become increasingly sophisticated and cybersecurity threats continue to rise, organizations are becoming more and more aware of the potential threat posed by third parties. All this is a major distraction for companies, impacting their overall strategic aims and objectives – something we should all consider when drafting resilience and business continuity plans. Emerging online threats and tough new penalties for data breaches are forcing universities to take cyber security more seriously than ever, says Kamal Bechkoum April 14, 2018 Kamal Bechkoum Most security incidents are the result of unintentional error. While college leaders will no doubt have welcomed the recent announcement of £400 million in government funding, the boost comes as the first increase to base rate funding for students since 2013.It’s clear that resources have been limited and staff spread thinly as a result. Cyber crime is hard to see and touch, it’s growing fast and universities are especially exposed to its impacts, as the recent publication of a report by the NCSC shows. nearly three-quarters of HE providers have now recruited staff for dedicated cyber security roles and 66% have a strategic cyber security lead. Informed by my experience of two significant data breaches at the University of Greenwich, where I am vice-chancellor, this blog describes the most significant cyber security risks and offers advice for senior leaders and board members about how to mitigate cyber threats and the potential impact. The introduction of the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has increased the importance of cyber security and data protection. Twenty-five percent of them were vulnerable. Many senior university leaders and board members are increasingly worried about the rising threat of cyber security attacks. Firstly, we were fined a substantial sum (£120k, reduced to £96k for early repayment). These include disruption to the functioning of a university network, through to more general and targeted attempts Cyber security has long been a challenge for universities, and demonstrating that you take it seriously is now a prerequisite of grant funding and government contract applications. David Maguire. Fortunately, there are practical things that IT security teams can do to strengthen or recover their defences, and many organisations able and willing to help. 2 Cyber security and universities: managing the risk 1:2. The credit rating agency characterized cyberrisks for the sector as “medium.” While colleges' vulnerability to cyberattacks is high, the “financial and reputational impacts” of these attacks are low, the report said. In the aftermath of these data breaches we took a number of specific actions: Similar problems also occur in the corporate world and over the course of the past 18 months, some of the biggest, most widespread, data breaches in the history of the Internet have hit the headlines. In 2016, Greenwich had two security breaches that were of sufficient seriousness that they needed to be reported to the Information Commissioners Office (ICO). Where are these gaps most likely to be found in universities and what does that mean for the IT security teams trying to defend the network and data? Increasing threats from social engineering attacks demand a strengthening of the ‘people perimeter’, writes Peter Carthew, director UK public sector at Proofpoint People have become the perimeter for any organisation when it comes to cyber security. "In a world of escalating threats and attacks -- universities have a responsibility to address security with their students," he says. In the case of the BA data breach, some 380,000 credit card transactions were taken and the initial fine was £183m. Ideally a security solution that has proactive and reactive protection and detection capabilities; where different parts can communicate with each other to provide your team with greater visibility into the security posture of the network at any time; and which offer an automated response to threats rather than just sharing a mountain of event logs for the IT security team to wade through, Ensure that all data travelling from server to server (east-west traffic) across the network is protected, Remember that responsibility for the security of data and infrastructure in the cloud is a shared one, treat anything in the cloud as if it was in the room next to you, Have robust access controls for anyone connecting to the network. The key cyber threats to UK universities are highly likely to be: Criminals seeking financial gain Nation states looking to steal personal data and intellectual property, for strategic advantage Here’s a short checklist that might help: The targeting of the education sector, students and staff by cyber-attackers is reprehensible at the best of times, to exploit the impact of the pandemic for criminal advantage is even more inexcusable. Do you have a good understanding of cyber security threats and their potential impact? For example, in 2012, a student from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln broke into the university’s PeopleSoft-based system and gained access to over 650,000 personal records. However, the risk is still high; U.S. Customs and Border Protection joined … Cybersecurity challenges abound in higher education. Cybersecurity requirements for undergraduates are lacking In summary, it is clear that cyber security is a critical business risk for universities and colleges, so it is vitally important that senior executive teams and governing bodies have a grasp of its significance and take appropriate actions to avoid becoming a victim. Solutions Passwords. All it takes is one small crack: one key security feature turned off, one undetected open port, one insecure password, one malware-infected personal device or removable media, one unwary click on a malicious link or convincing phishing email and the attackers are through. Dealing with cyber security threats to universities and colleges, (If you're a human, don't change the following field), ‘VLE success is not about tech, it’s about practice and people’, Let’s ‘build back better’ on post-COVID digital transformation, How technology can help your brain work smarter. Have all your staff been trained in information security and cyber security? It’s no surprise the NCSC worries that the cyber-vultures are gathering. The Cyber Security Risk Self-Assessment Tool is a 20-minute test that will help gauge if your business is a likely target for cyberattacks, and show how developed your current cyber security practices are. Academic institutions can also be subject to malicious – or even just mischievous – insider attacks from disgruntled students or staff, for example. Employing a virtual private network (VPN) allows universities to encrypt their network, ensuring they have no... Antivirus. BA will also be aware of the reputational and brand damage associated with the breach, and potential litigation. Among them will be countless students with limited security training and awareness, easy prey for attackers looking to exploit human inexperience through social engineering tactics. Although it is clear that the information breaches occurred, there is no evidence that people were directly affected in any material way. Unsecure personal devices. Add to this the impact of the pandemic, which saw millions of students and staff migrate to remote learning in the space of a few weeks. At any university, thousands of people are likely to be using personal, often unsecured or unpatched devices such as laptops and smartphones to connect to university networks either direct or via VPN, and using them to access and store university data. The cyber security practices of Australian universities are in the spotlight after the Australian National University (ANU) reported last week it had been the target of a serious attack.Hackers – reportedly based in China – infiltrated ANU’s networks some time last year and have proven difficult to remove. Laptops and other devices will have been bought and configured in a rush; cloud services rapidly scaled up; and security will have come second to the sheer urgency of getting stuff up and running. As cyber security professionals work to increase their knowledge of threats and cyber security information, earning an online cyber security master’s degree can be invaluable. Some of these attacks have been devastating in their impact and recovery time. News / Security / How to defend your university against top cyber security threats With cyber security a growing issue, creating a secure environment for teaching, learning and working online is a high priority for universities. For defenders this means that data needs to be protected not just from outsiders at the perimeter, but everywhere inside the network too. Find out more about our cyber security offering or join us in Newcastle for the Jisc security conference 2019 on 5-6 November 2019. There is a very good reason for this. When universities aren't centralized, it's more challenging to to govern data security, Turner said. Have you considered adding cyber security to your risk register? Have you commissioned an honest and detailed independent assessment of your vulnerability to cyber security threats? Universities and colleges are being warned by the UK's cyber-security agency that rising numbers of cyber-attacks are threatening to disrupt the start of term. In the aftermath, BA not only had to deal with the financial costs of investigating the breach, but the cost of additional security (eg penetration testers, consultants, security vendors, public relations and legal advice). The rising threat of cyber security attacks. The report is not written from a technical perspective. Tweet. Apply the principle of least privilege required so that stolen credentials cannot be used to move around the network, Consider working towards a ‘zero-trust’ model. Symantec’s 2016 report shows that higher education has moved into the number two spot behind healthcare in terms of the number of attacks. The rapid move to online teaching and learning as a means to curtail the spread of COVID-19 has exposed African universities to greater risk of cyber-crime, according to a number of experts. More cyberattacks coming from China, specifically targeted at colleges and universities, highlights how important cybersecurity defenses are for these institutions. As mentioned, I have a bit of experience of cyber security and cyber crime. Many senior university leaders and board … We use cookies to give you the best experience and to help improve our website, by This is a very serious, highly technical and rapidly evolving topic and, while some university and college leaders are confident they have a high-level executive view of cyber security, many are concerned that they need to know more. Instead, it explores the management steps that are required across the whole organisation in order to be cyber secure. This should include phishing simulation tests to show them what a phishing email looks like. According to SecurityScorecard analysis, overall security protocols are being neglected at colleges and universities. 3. while some university and college leaders are confident they have a high-level executive view of cyber security, many are concerned that they need to know more. it is clear that cyber security is a critical business risk for universities and colleges, so it is vitally important that senior executive teams and governing bodies have a grasp of its significance. Cyber security attacks have emerged as one of the most significant threats to universities and colleges in recent years. The risk of cyber attacks to the education sector have become more sophisticated and more frequent, EY's analysis of the sector and its weaknesses gives insight into the best practices for institutions to safeguard against a variety of possible breaches that endanger the security of student, staff and institutional data. Taking a step back for a moment, universities and colleges are at high risk of such threats because they typically have open, permissive, and highly distributed IT systems. That said, with a degree in cyber security you’ll set yourself in an endless pool of highly paid jobs and challenging careers. Interview: Alan Woodward, Visiting Professor, University of Surrey, NCSC: Nation State University Attacks Could Harm UK, Top Ten: Things Learned from the NCSC Annual Report, Have an intelligent, layered security solution in place. If your school hasn’t thought about cybersecurity as a growing concern, it’s time to learn what the threats are and what you should be doing to keep your school, and its data, protected. Ciaran Martin, CEO of the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), has clearly stated that cyber security is one of the major business risks to organisations, not least because cyber crime is ubiquitous and growing rapidly. Since passwords are one of the biggest points of vulnerability, one of the simplest yet most effective way to... VPN. Finally, we had to upscale our technology, training, insurance, auditing and general awareness, which consumed a lot of resources and directly impacted staff right across the organisation. A new project to enhance the cybersecurity of Australia’s universities will be headed up by RMIT’s new centre for Cyber Security Research and Innovation (CSRI) with the University Foreign Interference Taskforce (UFIT). Cyber Security NewsNew IU program monitors Cyber Security threats at other universities BLOOMINGTON, Ind. There will also be university staff, some with access to strategic, confidential or sensitive research, whose contact details and research interests are easy to find on the university website, providing malicious actors with everything they need to craft a highly tailored phishing attack. These systems have very large numbers of users and deal with very valuable and sensitive information. It’s time to take state-sponsored cyber attackers seriously, Foxing the phishers remains a constant dog fight, From the battlefield to the boardroom, influence and teamwork are key to building information security, Firmly putting cyber security ‘on the radar’ - Cyber Essentials for education and research, Libraries, learning resources and research, Required all staff to undertake General Data Protection Regulation (, Moved all at-risk IT systems under central control, Increased the level of password protection, Acquired specific cyber crime insurance cover, Added a cyber security risk to our risk register. The Australian government has also created some useful tools to help companies assess and prepare for cyber security threats. ... experts see 5 serious cyber threats that everyone should know about when sending their kids off to college. Universities are a hotbed for security incidents and a playground for hackers. 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