A malware attack on a university’s computer systems is nothing short of a nightmare. Apart from slowing down campus-wide internet services, malware can extract sensitive personal information and give rise to data breaches across the campus.
What is Malware?
It’s a malicious software created to steal computer users’ sensitive information or trigger damage to their computer systems. Malware consists of spyware, adware, viruses, ransomware, keyloggers, botnets, and more. While some malware use sophisticated codes, others are mere phishing attempts that victimize unsuspecting, susceptible email users.
The Massive Pile of Data Universities Have
Unfortunately, cybercriminals triggering such malware attacks know that college campuses are likely to retrieve the data lost during such attacks. But the pile of data colleges sits on is a goldmine for such cybercriminals. This is what’s reflected in the words of Sue Marquette Poremba, who says the university stores the medical records and personal data of 70,000 students and 20,000 faculty members and other staff members, along with financial information related to sports and theater season-ticket holders. When the intellectual property created by the university’s graduate students, professors, and other research professionals is added to the mix, the data held is massive.
All these reasons and more make it vital for universities to safeguard themselves from malware and other cyber attacks. Here are some ways universities can steer clear of data breaches and other cyber security threats.
Having Adequately-Planned Online Security
Universities should have a robust online security plan. This means having an excellent IT department that vigilantly keeps a close eye on the university’s network and plans to implement the best possible security, including having security protocols ready before events occur.
Investing in Educational Security Solutions
Several educational companies offer strong security solutions for universities and schools. Since these solutions protect against online security threats (like malware detection software) and even provide emergency management tech, it pays to invest in them.
Employing Antivirus Software
Universities, schools, and departments should use up-to-date antivirus software that regularly and frequently updates to offer complete protection against newer bugs and viruses. Access to such software should be made available to the entire campus community, including every student and professor who uses the university’s network.
Making Use of the Cloud
Universities should use cloud-based anti-virus software programs and perform as much work as possible in the cloud. This will guarantee that the most vital information can still be accessed through a cloud service even when data gets lost during possible security breaches.
Encouraging the Use of Strong Passwords
A strong password is hard to crack and hack. All staff members and students using the university network should be encouraged to have a unique login backed by a strong password. The university can set up guidelines for strong passwords.
The university’s staff and students should be made aware of their about digital responsibility and role in safeguarding the campus network. The university should provide them with information about guarding their personal computers and devices against malware and other cyber security threats.