How Universities Can Modernize Their Ransomware Protection

iQuanti: Ransomware attacks against universities are a growing problem. As most schools don’t have an airtight IT network or cybersecurity strategy, they become an easy target for cybercriminals who look to access their wealth of personal data.
However, there are approaches universities can take to safeguard their information and prepare their staff and students with up-to-date ransomware protection.
Assess current cybersecurity infrastructure
Email security
Email attacks, such as phishing and weaponized attachments, are how ransomware criminals infiltrate an IT system. Examine the security practices both students and staff use for emails. Are there enough measures in place to allow them to communicate safely and securely?
Remote learning
The transition to remote learning means more elements of university life take place on computers. Digital communication is now the norm, and this change means that the potential damage and risk of a cyberattack is significantly higher. Does your university have proper encryption for Zoom meetings, lectures, and other forms of remote learning?
IT Architecture
Due to their sometimes small IT budgets and outdated IT infrastructure, universities become easy targets for a ransomware attack. Conduct an audit of your university’s IT network and ask if there are areas where additional encryption or authentication stages could be added.
Conduct security awareness training
Awareness for teachers
When it comes to ransomware protection, professors and assistant faculty members stand at a vulnerable crossroads between the university’s staff and students. The university IT system contains a wealth of their personal data, which is particularly susceptible through email and remote learning. Educate your university’s teachers on how to address the variety of digital risks and blind spots.
Awareness for staff
University staff, especially those that handle IT architecture, require a high amount of awareness and preparation to handle cyberattacks. Invest time into preparing your university’s administrative branch to watch out for malicious emails and phishing scams.
Prepare a response plan
Hire a cybersecurity professional
There’s only so much universities can do on their own to prepare for a ransomware attack. Hire a cybersecurity expert who can give your school an added layer of protection against ransomware attackers and provide feedback on your current efforts and strategies.
Backup your data
Ransomware attacks typically attempt to hold essential data hostage. Properly backing up your IT networks gives you the option of withdrawing from negotiations without losing your data. However, there is still a risk of attackers selling your data for malicious purposes.
Source: iQuanti, Inc.