For Hackers, Universities are Prime Targets

The list of reasons why someone might want to hack a university is longer than you may think.

It’s obvious why so many schools and universities have become the victims of cyberattacks when you take the perspective of the hacker.

This month, Campus Safety has already reported on high profile data breaches at Penn State and Cal State, and now some internet security experts are providing theories for why schools are being targeted.

Michael Oppenheim, an intelligence operations manager at the internet security firm FireEye, noted that universities are often understaffed and under-resourced, according to NBC News.

RELATED: UVA Claims to Be the Victim of a Chinese Cyberattack

Schools also have surprisingly few options when choosing their providers for services like student registration, and unlike hospitals, schools must allow their users to access the university network with their own computing devices.

Both of these factors would seem to lower the security of the average university network. Indeed, NBC News cited a Tinfoil Security study that found about a quarter of state university networks were vulnerable to cyberattacks.

Hacking schools also comes with incentives: university networks offer treasure troves of data and complex, often high-priced research to access.

Regardless of the motives of hackers, it’s becoming increasingly clear schools have to make cybersecurity a high priority, or else.

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