Universities Are Big Targets for Hackers



The BBC has reported that multiple universities all over the U.K. have been affected by a malicious hacking attempt. The hack, which was a distributed denial-of-service attack directed at an academic network shared by several schools, has stopped students from being able to turn in homework. Basically, a DDoS attack floods a network with requests, clogging it and thereby making it unusable.

Although these types of attacks don't steal information by themselves, they are often used as a distraction. A hacker will initiate a DDoS attack, and while the institution is scrambling to get service back up and running, this malicious actor will try to find and exploit holes in the network's security. Whether this most recent attack was a cover or simply a prank has yet to be seen, but the point here is that universities have become some of the most hacked establishments out there.

Not just a problem for the U.K.

Hacking attempts directed at universities aren't incidents that only happen in Europe and the U.K., either. In the summer of 2015, Harvard became the victim of a malicious hack. The university reported that no student personal data had been breached, such as Social Security numbers and banking information, but it did state there was a possibility that university account login credentials had been taken.

The fact that these individuals can infiltrate arguably the most prestigious collegiate institution in the U.S. shows that this problem is more widespread than people are willing to admit. In fact, the 2015 Internet Security Threat Report released by Symantec discovered that universities are extremely vulnerable to cyberattacks. The report found that education is the third most hacked sector, only behind retail and health care.

This shows that universities the world over need to invest more heavily in cybersecurity. Although Harvard was lucky enough to keep its student's personal data confidential, the amount of information these institutions hold is simply too important to risk with a lax cybersecurity system. Many universities work with highly classified and dangerous research information, and allowing this sort of data to fall into the hands of cybercriminals is reckless.

Computer based training in cybersecurity is key

Just like every other sector out there, universities are in dire need of individuals with skills gained from computer training courses in cybersecurity. Despite their nefarious intentions, hackers are extremely knowledgeable individuals. In order to stop them, universities - and the world in general - need equally knowledgeable people willing to fight back. Hackers won't quit until they're forced to, and computer based training in cybersecurity can help you put these criminals out of commission.

If you've ever thought about taking computer training courses in cybersecurity, or if you just want to learn more about the field, make sure to check out the number of basic computer training courses offered by New Horizons Computer Learning Centers. New Horizons of Southern California and Southern Arizona can help give you the tools to stop cybercriminals in their tracks.

More links

  • Beat the Year End IT Budget Crunch with Training from New Horizons!It’s that time of year again! Technology training budgets are expiring soon. If you’re feeling your company may be pressed for time, New Horizons is here to help you maximize your training dollars with award winning service
  • IT Positions Dominate Most In-Demand Jobs for 2016Although most people know how valuable it is to have company IT training in the job market, CareerBuilder's list of the most in-demand jobs for 2016 shows just how important these skills are. The list determined each position's rank based on how many companies posted ads for the job, juxtaposed against how many people were hired in that field. Those jobs with more posting than positions filled received a higher spot on the list.
  • Could You Become A Professional Hacker?Last month was Nation Cyber Security Awareness Month, and what a month it was. Breaches were announced by Dow Jones, Scottrade, Experian and Donald Trump's hotel chains. A cybersecurity firm called CrowdStrike found evidence that the Chinese were infiltrating U.S. companies in the private sector despite publicly agreeing not to. And for the first time ever, Congress is poised to pass cybersecurity legislation. Needless to say, hackers have made quite the commotion in cyberspace.

Dec 2015

By: Terry Mott