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Universities have become a popular target for ransomware attacks, so much so that earlier this year, three universities fell victim to a ransomware attack in the same week. With the urgency of shifting to online learning, many education institutions have found themselves extremely ill prepared in the face of cyber attacks. Distance learning has massively opened up a huge attack surface - we are using unhardened collaboration applications like Zoom and at the same time, machines are now remote, removing control over updating and patching from the organization, says Andrew Homer, vice president of security strategy at Morphisec. Yet cybercriminals aren’t getting any slower at deploying attacks, and higher education has become one of the most targeted industries for ransomware attacks over the last few years.

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Getting Phished by a Prestigious University? New Attack Campaigns Use a Clever Trick

2020 has been a crazy year for everyone – including higher education institutions. While the world scrambled to keep health care systems afloat AND hold on to flailing economies over the summer, universities and colleges dealt with a different challenge – taking an extremely social experience, the education system, and putting it online. There’s no doubt that online learning saves facility expenses and time, but it has made Higher Ed institutions – and their students and staff – much more vulnerable to cyber attacks. University systems and networks need to be accessible to students from home, and in a time when online study life and online personal life merge, students may very well be putting the institution’s systems at risk as well.

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