Hackers may be turning their attention to data stored on college and university IT infrastructures. A hacker gained access to data from an unnamed U.S. university early in 2014, according to a warning issued by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
The hack initiated a denial-of-service attack against the servers and used about 98% of the school’s bandwidth. The DHS memo warned that government-funded research programs are appealing targets and university networks can offer hackers a way in.
“University networks, which often have multiple levels of connectivity and accessibility to fuel collaboration, may present easier targets for cyber-espionage actors than sensitive government or private-industry networks,” the memo said.
The memo also warned that less sophisticated cybercriminals may look to hack university networks to carry out phishing scams, insert ransomware, or create havoc with student financial information. The university network can also be used as a base for cybercriminal attacks on other IT systems because constant use by students can mask the criminal activity.