Understanding Ransomware

Sometimes overlooked with the constant movements in technology, ransomware is possible with any sector operating with technology. We’ve teamed up with KBR to find out how we can prevent ransomware attacks within the education sector.

Universities that have been impacted by a ransomware attack

63% of British universities have been vulnerable to a ransomware attack, according to a Freedom of Information request by SentinelOne. 56% of those had suffered from an attack in the past year. Bournemouth University suffered from 21 ransomware attacks in the same year showing that ransomware attacks are common in education institutions.

Big universities commented saying they did not go to the authorities when the ransomware attack occurred and preferred to handle the situation within their own organisation. However, Brunel University in London said that they did go to the police.

Educating the user

The only way a university can protect itself from ransomware attacks would be to firstly acknowledge the problem and not delay any action. Speaking generally, ransomware attacks can break a business, and this is something that all business owners want to avoid if they wish to remain successful. However, this can cause a great deal of damage for those operating in the education sector. After acknowledging the problem, it all comes down to user education — knowledge is key and the correct tools should be provided to make people are aware of potential risks.

Highlighting your security policies

Most practices have security policies in place, however, it is vital that they have an area that specifies the correct actions for all systems. When this is issued to individuals, whether this is staff within an education institute or students, they should be able to have a clear understanding of what it means. To achieve this, it is worth producing specific security policies for different departments, so it relates to their role. Usually a policy that is created for everyone leads to misunderstanding and a higher risk of security problems.

Holding inductions

If you’re a business that has people joining on a regular basis, it’s important that you make them aware of the rules you have in place. You should outline their personal responsibilities in their contracts to show that, when they sign, they are aware of potential consequences they might face for any misconduct when it comes to security. This should be included in the induction stage of their contract or initiation.

Hosting training

Workers should be the given the right training that gives them the needed guidance when working with different systems. Security advice can always change, so making training a more regular occurrence in the business can be beneficial and open room for discussion and constant learning opportunities that will transfer to their role.

It’s important to report incidents

It’s vital to encourage individuals to report any problems or concerns they may have regarding security. This should be embedded into university culture and make those working with the system aware that they must report any incidents.

Giving discipline

Once you have mastered your security policy, you should make everyone aware of the disciplinary action that will be taken against them if they do not comply with what has been outlined. This will lead to a more knowledgeable workforce that will put the best interests of your company’s security at the top of their priorities.

Which sectors suffer the most ransomware attacks?

The education industry suffers the most ransomware attacks out of all, with a rate of 23%. With wi-fi in school and other institutes being introduced, it could get worse. IT/telecommunications come in second place with 22%. The entertainment and financial services join in third place with 21%. The construction industry is in fourth place with 19%. The government and the manufacturing industries suffer from 18% of ransomware attacks. The transport sector is privy to 17% of attacks, while the healthcare sector and retail/wholesale/leisure come in at 16%.

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Ive been blogging now for 5 years on various sites for the love of knowledge share. I decided to start my own blog a few years back to share everything from tech to business news. Follow me on twitter for more.