Cyber Attacks Against Colleges Increasing

Cyber Attacks against Colleges

Recent statistics seem to suggest that cyber attacks happening against the colleges are on the rise, with colleges on an average being hit as many as 12 times a week.

The new statistics, provided by Jisc (the leading not-for-profit ed-tech company that provides UK colleges with IT services), shows that a quarter of colleges suffered at least a cyber attack last year.

As per the findings of the study initiated by Jisc, the most prominent method that’s employed by cyber criminals to attack colleges is the DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack. The hackers would first gain control of various computers, spread across the globe and then use those multiple systems to unleash DDoS attacks against college websites and networks. They’d target a network’s server with a huge amount of web traffic, which would help them knock the network offline, thereby preventing users from accessing the web-based services on the network.

The Jisc study points out that at least a quarter of all colleges in the UK suffered a DDoS attack last year. This year, it’s again showing an increasing trend, the frequency of attacks is on the rise. The first three months of this year saw DDoS attacks happening rampantly against colleges in the UK; the average number of DDoS attacks per week against UK colleges is 12. This figure shows an increase of 27% in comparison with the same period last year.

Jisc, through its Janet network, provides cyber attack prevention services to educational institutions in the UK. The focus is on protecting the colleges from DDoS attacks; the company’s official website says- “The DDoS mitigation service is automatically provided to all Janet-connected institutions…Our security analysts carefully monitor the patterns of traffic across the Janet Network. If a Janet-connected institution experiences a DDoS attack, traffic patterns trigger alerts and an active response from security analysts.”

A Jisc news release detailing the study findings quotes a Department for Education spokesperson as saying- “Colleges must take responsibility for their own cybersecurity and ensure they have good measures in place to protect against online threats. “

The DfE spokesperson further says- “Cybersecurity is a top priority for the government. We are investing £1.9 billion in the national cybersecurity strategy and have opened the National Cyber Security Centre, which is working with public and private sector organisations to make the UK the safest place for everyone to live and work online.”

To be noted is the fact that the disclosures come at a time when Jisc is facing serious cuts to its government funding.

Julia Sowells960 Posts

Julia Sowells has been a technology and security professional. For a decade of experience in technology, she has worked on dozens of large-scale enterprise security projects, and even writing technical articles and has worked as a technical editor for Rural Press Magazine. She now lives and works in New York, where she maintains her own consulting firm with her role as security consultant while continuing to write for Hacker Combat in her limited spare time.


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