University Challenge: Cyber Attacks in Higher Education

June 7, 2016

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Today, data is widely regarded as one of the most valuable assets any business can have. Most understand the importance of protecting it against unauthorised access from both competitors & the general public.

Despite this, over the past few years we have seen a number of high profile data breaches, highlighting how frequent and damaging cyber attacks can be. With all the press surrounding these hacks, it comes as no surprise that cyber crime is now the fastest growing economic offence.

The range of incentives for hacking into an organisation and stealing its data is becoming increasingly diverse and reflects the growing economic and social power of data. As ambition increases among hackers, so do the risks and the sophistication of attacks.

With attention frequently focused on the threats faced by commercial businesses, it is important to remember that public sector organisations in the UK including universities are also increasingly at risk from cyber crime.

Their status as world-leading research institutions makes them a prime target for hackers. If their information falls into the wrong hands, the consequences can be serious, ranging from anti-competitive commercial practices, to threats to national security, as well as the usual risks of identity fraud and financial crime.

Protecting our higher education institutions from cyber crime is vital if the UK is to remain as one of the world’s top research and innovation destinations. It is something which should be considered at board level issue both in the commercial and public sector world. If UK universities are to continue attracting the best students from both home and abroad, damage to reputation through cyber attacks and associated data breaches can create a serious threat to their ability to compete for applications and associated funding.

To discover more about the scale of this issue, VMware recently questioned senior IT figures at UK universities about the scale and nature of the cyber attacks they had experienced. The findings revealed that the situation is increasingly prevalent, with the majority reporting that they experience successful cyber attacks every hour.

This report explores the steps universities can take to protect against today’s increasingly sophisticated threat landscape and to ensure that their intellectual property (IP) remains in safe hands.

If you’d like to download the report, simply click below.


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