Although they aren’t typically thought of as a business, higher education institutions hold just as much critical data as any corporation. Without access to this data, it is practically impossible for colleges and universities to operate.
That is precisely why they have become a target for those looking to hijack computer systems and hold critical data for ransom. Campus IT has become a haven for hackers looking to hold information systems hostage in return for an enormous monetary payoff.
The other factor that makes learning centers ideal targets for ransomware is that they often have very limited network safety measures in place when compared to financial corporations. Not understanding the criticality of wealth of information stored in their computer systems, learning institutions often don’t provide enough security to deny entry to those who want to hijack their networks unscrupulously.
One of the most popular ways that ransomware enters a target is through a process called “spear phishing.” Since so many people are using higher education networks for social media sites and student email exchange, the whole system is highly vulnerable to attack. Spear phishing is a way that hackers disguise the ransomware in the form of an email. Once it’s opened, it makes its way into the entire networking system without being spotted until it is too late.
Prevention is the best way to stop ransomware from corrupting your institution’s tech landscape and holding your critical data captive. Being prepared is the only way to spot and stop vulnerabilities that allow ransomware to find its way in. It isn’t enough to think that you are protected; taking apart the various points of entry, and addressing each one with a specific plan, is the only way to safeguard your systems.
Many institutions don’t understand how many ways there are for ransomware to make its way into a system. To ensure that your networks are safe, it is important to analyze the system in its entirety to examine any insecurities that may not be covered.
From social media to email, finding all those points of entry takes some creativity and thought. It also takes a specialist who understands the new world of ransomware and the most likely ways that it can penetrate higher institutional network systems.
Hackers are like viruses -- the minute that you respond or find a cure for their malware, they have already mutated the software. Staying on top of the latest news in ransomware, and doing your research thoroughly to understand all the innovative ways hackers find their way in, is the only way to be one step ahead of them. After all, if you aren’t ahead of them, they have likely already penetrated your system.
Education is key to stopping ransomware at higher-learning institutions. Ironically, one of the best ways to keep ransomware from attacking your system is to educate both the faculty and students about how to identify phishing attacks to prevent them from inundating a system.
It isn’t just about entire networks -- students are being held ransom to gain access to their dissertation papers and master’s thesis projects. Making them aware of the harm that ransomware can do not just to the institution, but to them personally, will create an atmosphere of diligence on everyone’s part.
One of the best ways to safeguard your higher educational institution from would-be hackers is to enlist the help of industry leaders like reevert.com. One of the few malware specialists who understand how ransomware finds system weaknesses, our expertise is the key to keeping your systems, your educators, your administration, and your students safe from a ransomware attack. Consult us today for your free trial and to see how we can keep your data safe from captivity.
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