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Expert urges universities to make cybersecurity a priority after attack on University of Cambridge

Expert urges universities to make cybersecurity a priority after attack on University of Cambridge

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The University of Cambridge has been hit by a malicious denial of service attack.

As a result, Internet access became intermittent and incoming connections to websites, the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) and VPN were also impacted.

Paul Holland, cybersecurity expert and CEO of Beyond Encryption, said: “Universities are not immune from on-going digitalisation, with the pandemic accelerating this pace of change and institutions quickly changing their teaching models to facilitate a new world of online learning. This speedy transition meant that many universities failed to adequately prepare their cybersecurity strategies to safeguard themselves and their students from cyberthreats.

“With the NCSC reporting that the UK’s education sector is a prime target for cyberattacks, along with the influx of attacks on universities that we witnessed last year, it’s clear that these institutions must make cybersecurity a priority instead of an afterthought. Universities store a vast amount of sensitive data, from students’ personal to financial information, and this is something that they cannot afford to compromise.

“Organisations across the UK, especially renowned institutions such as leading universities, must be prepared for more attacks of this nature as the geopolitical landscape fluctuates. On-going global conflict will likely play a large part in the cyberincidents we will experience in the future.

“While it is believed that no data was stolen during this attack, this does not mean that other hacking groups won’t exploit similar loopholes to extract personal data in the future. Universities must take a closer look at their cybersecurity strategies to ensure they are watertight and prevent personal data from falling into the wrong hands.”

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