Beware of the Internet
Malicious cyber activity affects students in several ways, usually in the form of malware and online fraud. With students attending classes on their PCs and home Wi-Fi networks this and last year, the number of potential attack vectors is growing rapidly, according to Education Technology.
Before you can prevent an attack, it’s a good idea to first understand the threats students face today. Here are the four main types of attacks you need to know about:
- Social engineering: Social engineering fraud is one of the top cybersecurity threats facing students. These attacks rely on manipulated users to reveal confidential information.
- Data theft: Students sometimes don’t understand how to properly store personal and financial information entered online. Experts say hackers can use this data for identity theft, and different types of credit fraud.
- Social media reports: According to a study on cybersecurity threats following the COVID-19 pandemic, hackers are using fraudulent platforms like Facebook and WhatsApp to lure victims to phishing websites.
- Camfecting: Many students today have a desktop webcam or camera built into their phone, tablet, or laptop. This can open the door to collecting different and unwanted data, where hackers can access and control your webcam.
Most Common College Cybersecurity Problems
Many people, not just students, are also at risk of certain cyber attacks. Especially if they’re spending much of their time online; or even have an online business, want to become writers, designer, or IT specialist. But let’s explore how students should be even more aware of online security, and what potential threats are hiding in the online world.
Here are the ten most common cybersecurity threats you should be aware of in college today!
Learning Management Systems
In addition to student and staff personal information, community colleges must protect other types of information. Including test and measurement data. Today’s Learning Management System (LMS) not only serves as a center for assessment, communication, curriculum, and communication between faculty and students. It also offers online courses and staff training.
Unauthorized code can damage software applications and allow unauthorized users to access data. You can prevent this by performing post-deployment security testing. You can also use application software to protect yourself from different threats.
Malware comes in many forms, such as spyware, viruses, worms, and ransomware, which we’ll explore a bit more later. Malware is activated when a user clicks on a malicious link or attachment. This results in the installation of different types of malicious software. And many try to access, delete or share your data. It doesn’t matter if you deal with poets or company finances – malware is universally dangerous to all of its victims.
Malware will make sure to:
- Block access to critical network components.
- Access your confidential information, including college-related files.
- Install additional malware.
Third-Party Data Breach
Such cyber incidents compromise an organization’s sensitive information by gaining access through providers or different business partners. These violations can be detrimental to business, resulting in heavy fines, legal proceedings, and loss of customer loyalty.
Third parties are often more easily compromised. Most data breaches start with them. For this reason, it is important to know who you do business with, what their security situation is, and whether it is acceptable for your company.
Computer Systems in College
Computer rooms at community colleges are often larger and more complex than the computer systems used in companies. A computer lab is a great place for hackers to get their work done. They can be sitting in the lab. Or they can gain unauthorized access to lab equipment remotely.
To avoid this situation, set up, deploy, and manage appropriate security configurations on computer lab equipment to prevent cyberattacks. Adhere to documented security configuration standards for all your systems and software.
Researchers found that attacks on mobile devices have increased by 50% since 2018. As more students switch from desktop or laptop to smartphone use, mobile security is more important than ever.
Using phones in college has, in some classes, become the norm for the purposes of checking different info or communicating with others. Being extra careful about what apps you use and what websites you visit is more than enough to prevent mobile malware.
Phishing attacks use fake communications, such as emails, to trick recipients into opening them and following the instructions contained therein, such as the specification of your credit card numbers, passwords, and social media usernames.
This is done for many reasons but the main two are:
- Stealing personal data; and
- Using it to install malware.
It’s better to prevent an attack so you could feel that secure feeling, or as George Elliot, one of the famous poets put it, “the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe.”
To create the botnets needed for coordinated DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks, hackers use devices that have previously been compromised by malware or hacker attacks. In this way, any machine can commit criminal acts because the owner doesn’t know about it.
Criminals are even using artificial intelligence (AI) to carry out DDoS attacks. This year organizations have adopted remote work and online studying at an unprecedented pace. Increased online traffic and reliance on digital services have made them more vulnerable to different cybercriminals.
Most IT departments on campus reported data breaches to students, staff, and faculty in these cases, according to a recent CDW-G report – but most students said they had no idea when this kind of event would occur.
With an account monitoring and control solution, you can prevent and detect unauthorized activity that could lead to data loss or breach. Make sure you control who has access to sensitive information – and you can spot unauthorized access attempts immediately!
Ransomware is a data encryption program that requires payment to release infected data. The total amount of ransom demands will reach $1.4 billion by 2020, with the average damage amount reaching $1.45 million.
This year, hackers compromised COVID-19 research data and claimed $1.14 million from the University of California, attacked a photography company Canon, and even took responsibility for a fatal incident.
IoT – Internet of Things
The university provides a wireless environment, which increases security loopholes. With students’ taste in apps and devices changing frequently, it’s hard to tell which devices they are and what they use on campus to connect to the network.
Every connected device offers cybercriminals the opportunity for exploitation. Especially since many of these devices lack adequate security controls. While you can’t control the devices students, staff, and faculty wear on campus, you can make recommendations about their purchasing decisions and offer training to be added to the curriculum.
While you’re in college, cybersecurity may not have even crossed your mind as a potential problem. The good news is, you probably won’t face it that much – or at all. But it’s important to know about different attack possibilities so you could protect yourself accordingly.
Some general tips for staying attack-free are carefully installing apps, mindfully browsing the web, and having different types of data protection, like passwords, and antivirus programs. In other words – stay safe and explore without fear!