Educational institutions can be prime targets for cyberattacks.
The very qualities that make educational institutions valuable can make them vulnerable as well.
Universities often conduct cutting-edge research. Cybercriminals can extort institutions by encrypting their intellectual property (IP) and demanding a fee to unencrypt it. They also can steal the IP produced by researchers and sell it to third parties for financial gain.
Apart from their IP, universities must also protect the people within their ecosystems. This includes guarding against risks to the personal safety of students when physical access to school facilities converges with logical access to IT resources. Think key cards for building access.
Additionally, they need to protect students’ personal data. College students rely heavily on their smartphones for everything from online class participation to pizza delivery. Unfortunately, hackers are increasingly using mobile devices as an avenue for attack.
Universities that operate medical centers or health clinics must go further to safeguard patients and their private health information. This can even include protecting the welfare of animals in university veterinary or research facilities.