Cyber Security & Universities: Where’s the Disconnect?

A few years ago my university’s security was compromised by a student burglar who stole several computers, including some used by the faculty. Immediately, the campus police launched an offline and cyber security investigation, found and charged the culprit who is now serving his jail sentence.

cyber securityA spokesperson said that the burglar’s motives might have been academic, meaning he wanted to cheat on a test. Most of us may have daydreamed about doing something similarly ignoble to change our GPA to something more ennobling if we ever had access to do so.

But the university burglary motivated me think about the security of such delicate and personal information. Because of the troves of personal and financial information, universities are prime targets for online hackers – even those without access to the school’s computers.

Despite full-frontal attacks on information, an article by Alfred Ng for CNET.com shared this method of hacking that students should be aware of: malware or hacking platforms disguised as apps.

“Though most of the blacklisted apps are poorly made games [such as the ransomware programs impersonating Pokemon Go at the app’s apogee], others pretend to help you be a better student,” Ng wrote.

Risk IQ, a cybersecurity company, has been on the lookout for university connected vulnerabilities. In Ng’s article, the company gives suggestions on how students can avoid these costly tricks:

“Other warning signs to watch out for when it comes to sketchy apps are poorly written reviews and developers using public domain emails for contacts, Risk IQ said. For any educational apps, like Blackboard Learn, you should always check the sources and look for the official versions.”

With my another semester starting soon, the last thing I want to worry about, or any student to worry about, is cybersecurity. Be smart and be safe. Check to see if your school is protecting its website from online hackers with vulnerability scanning software – like that offered through Trust Guard. Otherwise, you might want to consider not sharing your personal information on the school’s website.

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