In accordance with United Kingdom National Cyber Security Center (NCSC), The hacking and especially ransomware attacks on universities are constantly growing. Experts say that academic institutions need to take action and ensure that their networks are protected.
The NCSC warning comes after ransomware attacks aimed at universities during August. The hackers they were not only asking for money from universities, but threatened and leaked data who had stolen from them systems before encryption. The NCSC said it had identified several ransomware attacks, which caused many problems.
Meanwhile, colleges and universities are preparing for the start of the new academic year and the welcome of new students. The challenges they face are many due to the special situation created by its pandemic COVID-19. In all of this, they have to deal with cyber security to be able to deal with a potential ransomware attack.
"These criminals who target the education sector, especially at such a difficult time, are utterly reprehensible.Said Paul Chichester, NCSC executive.
"While these are isolated incidents, I would urge all academic institutions to heed our warning and take the steps we propose to ensure that young people can return to education without breaks (courses etc)".
"We are committed to ensuring that the UK academic world is as safe as possible from threats in cyberspace and we will not hesitate to act if there is a threat", Added Chichester.
According to experts, ransomware attacks on universities (and other educational institutions) in the UK are one of the most common threats along with Phishing attacks and uninformed, therefore vulnerable systems.
What measures can universities take?
- Vulnerability management and regular system updates
- Security of RDP services with multi-factor authentication
- Install antivirus software
- Employee training
- Make copies security and offline, so they can restore their files without paying a ransom.
According to ZDNet, an expert said that the proper digital infrastructure of educational institutions is necessary if we think of ransomware attacks that have targeted schools and universities in the last 6 months.
"A holistic approach is needed. Experts, teachers and students need to be able to recognize the threats and be able to deal with them when something goes wrong", He added.