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Colleges: Tighter Budgets, Rising Cyber Attacks

Hackers boost attacks on schools in a post-Coronavirus world.

Colleges and universities around the country are proving to be easy prey to hackers with ransom demands.

Public and private schools face massive challenges in a post-pandemic world. With more virtual learning, students and faculty will be fully attached to their computers. Hackers are seizing this opportunity to launch attacks.

In many ways, a college is an ideal target for hackers.

The list of colleges attacked in recent months is long, including:

  • Crowder College (Missouri)
  • Grinnell College (Iowa)
  • Oberlin College (Ohio)
  • Hamilton College (New York)
  • Los Angeles Valley Community College (California)
  • University of Calgary (Alberta, Canada)
  • Carleton University (Ontario, Canada)
  • Regis University (Colorado)
  • Monroe College (New York)
  • Illinois Valley Community College (see story here)
  • St. Louis Community College (see story here)

Ransom demands vary, but they are getting larger. Note a recent $2 million ransom demand at Monroe College in New York City.

Many campuses have old machines with out-of-date software used by students and the public.

Bringing dated computers and un-patched software into the current environment makes for a heavy burden on students and faculty. All users have to be extra vigilant with email to protect their network.

It only takes one person clicking on the wrong email to compromise the entire system.

Over 90% of attacks start with just one Phishing email. With the tremendous volume of email in a college network, this certainly is attractive territory for cyber criminals.

What can schools do to protect their students and faculty?

  • Frequently patch and update software
  • Maintain strong backups
  • Institute a cyber disaster recovery plan
  • Restrict user permissions
  • Use multi-factor authentication (MFA)
  • Require security training courses
  • Continuously test phishing awareness

It's not just colleges under attack. In fact, many elementary, middle and high schools have been compromised. Recent attacks include those in Texas, Montana and New Mexico.

As schools implement additional security measures, the quickest (and lowest cost!) solution is Fully Automated Security Awareness Training.

Ready to learn more? Take us for a product tour and quote here.

Original article here.

Joel Cahill

Cybersecurity enthusiast. Entrepreneur.