What do the University of Calgary, the University of Georgia, the University of Greenwich, UC Berkley, University of Central Florida, and 440 schools in Japan have in common? They have all been targeted by cybercrime, as educational institutions face an increased risk of attacks due to lax security. Some have even been hit twice, and Michigan State is the latest to join the club.
All data we connect to the internet is exposed and vulnerable to cyberattacks. In some cases, the attacks are carried out by frustrated students or staff members, while others are launched by hackers looking to make a quick buck. In spite of recent cyber threats, including ransomware, the number of targeted schools and universities is increasing.
Earlier this month, 400,000 student, alumni and employee records were leaked following a major data breach at Michigan State.
“The 400,000 individuals include faculty, staff and students who were employed by MSU between 1970 and Nov. 13, 2016, or were students between 1991 and 2016,” the university said in a press release.
However, only 449 were actually exposed, according to the university. The hackers accessed social security numbers, dates of birth and student ID numbers. Financial and health information, and academic details were not taken, the university said. Once aware of the attack, the university promptly took the database offline.
“We have a deep sense of obligation to our MSU family, and we are taking aggressive action to protect any personal information that may have been compromised,” President Lou Anna K. Simon stated. “We will provide credit monitoring and ID theft services for any member of our community who may have been impacted by this criminal act. We also will continue to work diligently in our efforts to protect the integrity of our data systems and improve the security of information that is entrusted to us.”