Making sure everyone on campus is on board with â¦ All Rights Reserved. "Protecting schools is a lot harder than protecting corporations, mainly because you have to allow people to bring their own devices," Borohovski said. We focus on cyber attacks on government agencies, defense and high tech companies, or economic crimes with losses of more than a million â¦ This week the National Cyber Security Centre issued its latest alert warning of the threat to disruptive attacks aimed at the education sector, following a spate of attacks on schools, colleges, and universities.. Chiara Sottile is anÂ NBC News Tech Producer. "And that includes information security. This year isn't over, but it has already seen its fair share of headline-grabbing hacks. So far, Jones said, consultants hired by the university have traced the origin of the attacks to China. IE 11 is not supported. He noted that education tech isn't a very lucrative field, which means companies don't face much competition. Another problem is that universities have limited options when it comes to software for services like student registration. Students are responsible for cyber attacks on Universities and Colleges Posted By Naveen Goud A research conducted by a government-funded agency has discovered that students are more responsible for cyber attacks on Universities and Colleges than hacking â¦ Higher Education is particularly hard to protect because, in contrast to corporations, higher education computer networks must allow for more open access to employees and students. Other times they enter malicious code into websites that students and faculty regularly log into. 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. 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. The combination of employee and student personal and financial information, confidential data such as medical records, and commercially desirable research combined with the cultural openness of higher education has made Colleges and Universities prime targets. Keith Wagstaff is a contributing writer at NBC News. Overall, about 18,000 students and faculty, plus around 500 research partners, were possibly affected by a breach that might have started as far back as two years ago. Universities should ensure that all staff and students â¦ Breaches â¦ Simply put, a university is an IT environment that combines a large amount of high-value information with a wide attack surface. 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. "Most of the third-party companies that provide software to education institutions, frankly, don't focus on security," he said. Many senior university leaders and board members are increasingly worried about the rising threat of cyber security attacks. "I don't think that they were run-of-the-mill criminals after credit card information," said Jones. August saw a rise in cyberattacks on schools and universities, government experts have warned (Nicolas Asfouri/AFP via Getty Images) It's probably because they don't know it's a problem or they're simply not catching it in time.". So what is the solution? Hundreds of Times. Universities under siege in 2015 This year, breaches of Pennsylvania State University and the University of Virginia were blamed on Chinese hackers. Hackers have posted a small sample of files from the gang on a â¦ For one, cutting edge research takes place in universities, â¦ 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 â¦ While the attacks aren't novel, universities don't have strict control over the hardware and software that students and faculty use. A good first step is getting universities to acknowledge the threat of cyberattacks in the first place, something that might be helped by the recent spate high-profile breaches. Colleges and Universities are Prime Cyber Attack Targets Cutting edge research has made Higher Education a prime target. University College London, one of the world's leading universities, has been hit by a major cyber-attack. 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. 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. âAlmost 100% of cyber attacks require human interaction to be successful, and that same human interaction can also bring about failure. Ciaran Martin, CEO of the National Cyber Security Centre â¦ In a recent study, Tinfoil Security tested the networks of 557 state universities with a cross-site scripting (XSS) attack. Despite the frequency of attacks, many schools aren't prepared to defend themselves. In addition to personal information, universities also hold confidential research data which can be valuable to cyber criminals and state-sponsored actors. "As administrators in education, we know that we're responsible for security writ large," Nicholas Jones, provost of Pennsylvania State University, told NBC News. 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. General Info: 409.880.7011 4400 MLK Blvd., PO Box 10009, Beaumont, Texas 77710. At the University of Connecticut, student Social Security numbers and credit card data were taken. 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 â¦ Looking beyond just financial gain, there are a number of other reasons why cyber attacks are hitting education institutions more frequently. The type of attack has also changed significantly. Prior to his work at The Week, he was a technology writer at TIME. A â¦ The transient nature of university populations â students on erratic schedules entering and leaving campus, as well as graduating â can make tracking down the source of malicious software difficult, according to Borohovski. Student data has been stolen in a âsophisticated and maliciousâ cyber-attack on a university. In 2019 alone, 89 U.S. universities, colleges and school districts became victims of such attacks, followed by at least 30 in â¦ 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. However, 36 per cent do not know the â¦ In 2014, 10 percent of reported security breaches involved the education sector, according to Symantec's Internet Security Threat Report. This year, breaches of Pennsylvania State University and the University of Virginia were blamed on Chinese hackers. According to the report sponsored by VMware and Dell EMC, cyber attacks on UK universities presents an increasing risk to national security, with 93% of university research â¦ Records and ID documents of some Lancaster University students were accessed in the â¦ Such ransomware attacks on universities have become common. "It's arguably cheaper to try to steal that information than to create it yourself.". Lone wolf hackers creating nuisance viruses have been replaced by sophisticated foreign governments and organized crime rings. Washington State University and Johns Hopkins University were also the target of attacks. Cutting edge research has made Higher Education a prime target. "For a university that's understaffed and under-resourced, it can be a difficult situation for them," Oppenheim said. Universities are a wealth of sensitive data and prime targets for cyberattacks. Twenty-five percent of them were vulnerable. "We have a lot of really smart people here doing state-of-the-art research," he said. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser. Universities should be looking to outside help to shore up and strengthen their computer networks, Oppenheim said. 5 Strategies to Thwart Cyberattacks in Higher Education. It's unknown whether the hackers were independent actors or sponsored by the government. The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) issued the alert following a recent spike in ransomware attacks â¦ He covers technology, reporting on Internet security, mobile technology and more.Â He joined NBC News from The Week, where he was a staff writer covering politics. 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. Newcastle University is being held to ransom by cyber criminals in an attack which has been disrupting IT systems since the beginning of the month. 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. 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. In the UK, a report published in July by cybersecurity firm Redscan found that more than 50% of UK universities â¦ 2014-2016 Hackers became smarter, Higher Education cyber attacks are more specific. Universities â¦ This timeline records significant cyber incidents since 2006. The university is spending millions upgrading its computer network to better safeguard against future attacks. Finding the culprit behind the keyboard in cyberattacks can be incredibly difficult. 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. Earlier in the summer, and amid the Covid-19 lockdown and subsequent disruption, dozens of UK universities â¦ These aren't college kids trying to change their grades. The school says "vulnerabilities" uncovered in the attack â¦ Blackbaud university ransomware â the danger of supply chain attacks The UKâs cybersecurity agency NCSC (National Cyber Security Centre) has warned of a recent spike in â¦ Higher Education cyber attacks initiated The first deal of cyber criminals in Higher Education was an attack on Yaleâs system in 2002 by hackers from Princeton University. 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 â¦ Higher education institutions face unique threats in their data security. Hackers specifically target universities for the sensitive information stored in their systems. Often universities hold sensitive personal information on thousands of staff and students, making them prime targets for attack. Unlike retailers, whose information typically includes credit card numbers and other customer statistics, That trails only health care (37 percent) and retail (11 percent). A cyber attack at Newcastle University has turned out to be a ransomware infection courtesy of the Doppelpaymer gang. "I think schools are waking up to it," Borohovski said. At the University of Connecticut, â¦ "I just think they're going to need a lot of help.". "A quarter of state universities ... that's insane," said Michael Borohovski, founder and CTO of Tinfoil Security. They can also prioritize the most sensitive information and spend their limited resources protecting it. From 2006 to 2013, 550 universities reported some kind of data breach, he said. I don't think I thought a year ago that I would know as much about information security as I do now.". Universities in Auckland and Otago were victims of a cyber security breach this year, linked to an attack against technology firm Blackbaud, which store information on their behalf. "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. "It's not because they don't care. The cyber crime group behind the attack â¦ This is not a new phenomenon. In May, Penn State revealed that hackers had breached computers in its engineering department â something that was brought to the university's attention by the FBI. This year was no exception when talking about espionage attacks on universities.