The University of Michigan was hit with a cyberattack in the past few days. Three of its campuses were targeted by hackers and the school has restricted Internet access. The school has yet to disclose the specifics of the attack, but it is apparent that bad actors have caused a large amount of damage and it will likely cost a lot of money to recover. It is difficult to say what exactly caused the breach, but it is likely some form of malware or ransomware attack.
These sorts of cyberattacks are becoming increasingly common among schools and universities. Because of systems that are out of date or not compliant, more schools are reporting that their systems are lacking in security. The systems in these educational establishments house sensitive information of children and adults alike, so it’s crucial to have proper protections in place to keep that data safe. These bad actors are dumping sensitive student data on the Internet.
These attacks have become more and more detrimental and expensive for schools and colleges, costing them millions over time. Not only does it cost schools money, it causes a loss of time as well. Usually, the school has to disconnect completely from the Internet, which can be an effective way to defend against an attack. However, that means the campus could go without Internet for days.
Over 20 major cyberattacks have happened to US universities so far in 2023. That doesn’t include the rest of the world, which raises that number dramatically. In 2022, there were around 88 major attacks on schools and university establishments in the US. While that might not seem like a big number, these organizations cover a large number of schools. In 2021, that was around 1,043 schools. However, in 2022, that number significantly increased to 1,981 schools affected.
Experts have said that these numbers will continue to grow. Because of schools’ lack of cybersecurity or up-to-date policies, they have become easy targets for cybercrime. The government has been paying attention to this and has been in the process of creating new rules and regulations for it. It is crucial to update computer systems and cybersecurity efforts in schools because it is only going to get more difficult to protect students’ and faculty data.
Prevent University Cyberattacks
Like financial institutions, hospitals, and other businesses, the best way to prevent these sorts of attacks is to keep all antivirus and operating systems updated with security patches and policies. These should be pushed through pretty often, but many people tend to put off running updates on their computer. It’s a good idea to get these done as soon as possible.
While core systems in school are somewhat old, it’s no excuse to ignore cybersecurity. As time goes on and more attacks are made, the government and insurance policies will have more and more regulations to have it. Recently, the government announced a cybersecurity initiative made for K-12 grade schools to strengthen their stances on the subject in 2024.
Over the next year or two, schools and universities will be required to implement more cybersecurity to protect their students and faculty. The government is putting out cybersecurity initiatives to better strengthen American schools against cyberattacks. It’s always beneficial to get ahead of these, however. Having suitable cybersecurity in place will prevent loss of money to bad actors. Not only that, but it will also prevent a shutdown for the school.
The malicious attacks on schools aren’t going to slow down. Every day, more and more establishments are being taken down by malware and ransomware. Interruptions are becoming commonplace, but they don’t have to be. Schools have gone for days without access to the Internet or proper school tools because of bad actors, along with millions of dollars in costs. Cybersecurity is becoming more important as technology and the Internet of Things expands.