Lone wolf hackers creating nuisance viruses have been replaced by sophisticated foreign governments and organized crime rings. "I think schools are waking up to it," Borohovski said. Despite the frequency of attacks, many schools aren't prepared to defend themselves. Hackers specifically target universities for the sensitive information stored in their systems. For one, cutting edge research takes place in universities, … University College, Oxford, is among more than 20 colleges hit by the cyber-attack More than 20 universities and charities in the UK, US and Canada have confirmed they are victims of a … Hackers gain access to school networks the same way they gain access to a lot of other networks. With their vast stores of personal data and expensive research, universities are prime targets for hackers looking to graduate from swiping credit card numbers. Breaches … Unlike retailers, whose information typically includes credit card numbers and other customer statistics, All Rights Reserved. This is not a new phenomenon. Universities should be looking to outside help to shore up and strengthen their computer networks, Oppenheim said. The University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) has confirmed it paid a ransom totaling $1.14 million (£925,000) to the criminals behind a cyber-attack on its School of Medicine. Sometimes they use "spear phishing" emails with malicious links or attachments that can be used to establish a "beachhead inside the network" and try to gain more access, Oppenheim said. This timeline records significant cyber incidents since 2006. Cutting edge research has made Higher Education a prime target. It's a trend that is forcing schools to think harder about how they protect students and researchers from a threat that never shows its face on campus. In addition to personal information, universities also hold confidential research data which can be valuable to cyber criminals and state-sponsored actors. The University of Utah says nearly $500,000 it paid to cyber thieves in a ransomware attack did not come out of tuition, grants or taxpayer funded accounts. Such ransomware attacks on universities have become common. "I just think they're going to need a lot of help.". "Most of the third-party companies that provide software to education institutions, frankly, don't focus on security," he said. The school says "vulnerabilities" uncovered in the attack … The type of attack has also changed significantly. August saw a rise in cyberattacks on schools and universities, government experts have warned (Nicolas Asfouri/AFP via Getty Images) Colleges and Universities are Prime Cyber Attack Targets Cutting edge research has made Higher Education a prime target. We focus on cyber attacks on government agencies, defense and high tech companies, or economic crimes with losses of more than a million … However, 36 per cent do not know the … "Protecting schools is a lot harder than protecting corporations, mainly because you have to allow people to bring their own devices," Borohovski said. Hackers have posted a small sample of files from the gang on a … Records and ID documents of some Lancaster University students were accessed in the … This year, breaches of Pennsylvania State University and the University of Virginia were blamed on Chinese hackers. At the University of Connecticut, … Prior to his work at The Week, he was a technology writer at TIME. While the attacks aren't novel, universities don't have strict control over the hardware and software that students and faculty use. He noted that education tech isn't a very lucrative field, which means companies don't face much competition. When Chinese President Xi Jinping arrives in the United States this week, President Barack Obama is expected to bring up the issue of cyberespionage, a tense topic that some have speculated could lead to economic sanctions against Chinese firms. University College London, one of the world's leading universities, has been hit by a major cyber-attack. That trails only health care (37 percent) and retail (11 percent). A … Earlier in the summer, and amid the Covid-19 lockdown and subsequent disruption, dozens of UK universities … Student data has been stolen in a “sophisticated and malicious” cyber-attack on a university. They're potentially "nation-state actors" much like the hackers who have targeted large corporations in the past, said Michael Oppenheim, intelligence operations manager at Internet security firm FireEye. The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) issued the alert following a recent spike in ransomware attacks … Often universities hold sensitive personal information on thousands of staff and students, making them prime targets for attack. The transient nature of university populations — students on erratic schedules entering and leaving campus, as well as graduating — can make tracking down the source of malicious software difficult, according to Borohovski. "If they don't have to spend money on security and can still win a contract, that is what they're going to do," he said. He covers technology, reporting on Internet security, mobile technology and more. He joined NBC News from The Week, where he was a staff writer covering politics. The university is spending millions upgrading its computer network to better safeguard against future attacks. In the UK, a report published in July by cybersecurity firm Redscan found that more than 50% of UK universities … 5 Strategies to Thwart Cyberattacks in Higher Education. "For a university that's understaffed and under-resourced, it can be a difficult situation for them," Oppenheim said. Washington State University and Johns Hopkins University were also the target of attacks. Oxford, Warwick, and Greenwich Universities are among many of the higher education institutes to have fallen victim to attacks in recent years, with hackers attempting to steal research data and … In 2014, 10 percent of reported security breaches involved the education sector, according to Symantec's Internet Security Threat Report. Twenty-five percent of them were vulnerable. So what is the solution? Keith Wagstaff is a contributing writer at NBC News. The UK's cyber-security agency has issued a warning to universities and colleges that rising numbers of cyber-attacks are threatening to disrupt the start of term. Colleges Toughen Cyber Defenses as Hacking Threats Linger, Super Hackers Reveal How Easy It Is to Steal Just About Everything, Stunning Map Shows Chinese Cyber Spies Target U.S. A cyber attack at Newcastle University has turned out to be a ransomware infection courtesy of the Doppelpaymer gang. Universities responding to the posture survey estimate that cyber attacks over the last year cost less than £100,000, with most losses under £50,000. "As administrators in education, we know that we're responsible for security writ large," Nicholas Jones, provost of Pennsylvania State University, told NBC News. Universities have received an alert about an increase in cyber attacks Why you can trust Sky News British universities and colleges have been warned about a spike in ransomware attacks … From 2006 to 2013, 550 universities reported some kind of data breach, he said. "It's arguably cheaper to try to steal that information than to create it yourself.". Looking beyond just financial gain, there are a number of other reasons why cyber attacks are hitting education institutions more frequently. Simply put, a university is an IT environment that combines a large amount of high-value information with a wide attack surface. "I don't think that they were run-of-the-mill criminals after credit card information," said Jones. Universities have been targeted in the past with disruption campaigns such as denial-of-service attacks during peak periods such as class registration or final exams, said Schreiber. So far, Jones said, consultants hired by the university have traced the origin of the attacks to China. I don't think I thought a year ago that I would know as much about information security as I do now.". Ciaran Martin, CEO of the National Cyber Security Centre … Universities … “Almost 100% of cyber attacks require human interaction to be successful, and that same human interaction can also bring about failure.

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