Within recent years, the number of cyber attacks that have occurred to companies has significantly increased. The top two sectors that are having breaches include the healthcare and retail sectors. However, perhaps it may come as a surprise to find that the industry with the third highest incidents related to security breaches is the education industry. Specifically, higher education with Universities and Colleges throughout the nation being targeted. This further necessitates the importance of cybersecurity.
Just last year, significant breaches occurred at Pennsylvania State University, University of Connecticut, Washington State University, the University of Virginia and John Hopkins University. At all these schools, various information was stolen from credit card data, social security numbers, and even research information. It is likely that Universities are now being targeted because for the most part, schools are not aware that security is a problem or they are only not catching holes in their security in time. In fact, in a recent study where Tinfoil Security tested the security networks of 557 state universities using a cross-site scripting attack, twenty-five percent of the school were vulnerable to an attack. Another reason that security breaches at Universities have been more successful than in other sectors is that often, Universities do not have strict control over the software and hardware that students and the faculty use. The difficulty increases when you consider that unlike many corporations, Universities cannot control the devices that people are bringing on campus.
Professionals suggest that there are still things that can be done to protect Universities and the students and faculty within them. They suggest that whatever limited resources schools might have for Cyber-Security is focused on protecting the most sensitive information. Another good place to start is by getting the Universities to acknowledge that cyber-attacks are a real threat in the first place. If this is the case, it is likely that more of the budget will be used for security, which will do more good in the long run.
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