Cyber attack on Newcastle Uni is part of a concerning trend – Experts Insight

By   ISBuzz Team
Writer , Information Security Buzz | Sep 08, 2020 06:31 am PST

Newcastle University has become the latest University to fall victim to ransomware in what has become over the last several years a very concerning trend. The cybersecurity expert reacted to this news below.

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Adenike Cosgrove
Adenike Cosgrove , Cyber Security Strategist, International
September 8, 2020 2:34 pm

In recent years, the frequency, sophistication level, and cost of cyber attacks against universities has increased. The education sector saw the largest year-on-year increase of email fraud attacks of any industry in 2019, with 192% growth, averaging 40 attacks per institution.

The coronavirus pandemic may have upped the ante with the security challenges posed by a rapid move to remote learning, but the education sector has been something of a powder keg for a very long time. Education institutions hold masses of highly sensitive data on individuals, perhaps more so than any industry outside healthcare. Along with personal information such as name, address, DOB, there\’s also the potential to hold payment details, ID, health records, and much more. This trove of information puts a target on the back of every good-sized school, college, or university. Also, like medical institutions, education centers must maintain short- and long-term continuity. Canceling exams, writing off grades, and cutting off services is not an option, and cybercriminals know this, which also makes the sector one of the most targeted by ransomware attacks. This incident at Newcastle University is just the latest of many in a sector increasingly under attack. And the only defense is one that places the very people under attack at its heart.

Almost 100% of cyber attacks require human interaction to be successful. That same human interaction can also bring about failure. Universities should ensure that all staff and students are aware of basic security hygiene and the mechanics of common threats. This awareness training must be in context. All users must now how they are likely to encounter an attack and the role they play in defending against it.

Last edited 3 years ago by Adenike Cosgrove

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