The University of Greenwich have released information in a Freedom of Information request based on cyber-attacks. The headline statistic is that in a 15-month period, the University quelled over 200 cyber-attacks. While this may come as a surprise to some, this revelation exemplifies the dangers of living in the modern age – with cyber-attacks becoming a major part of life in the technological era. Fortunately, no cyber attack has compromised any sensitive data of students or staff. Read on for more.
A cyber attack can take many forms – and as seen with the range of hacks that have taken place in years gone by – can have a hugely detrimental effect on an organisation. In this case, the University of Greenwich were affected by phishing attacks and spear phishing attacks. The time frame concerns the period between September 2016 and December 2017. There were over 200 attacks in this time, meaning on average the University were hit by around 3 attacks per week – which is quite a lot!
Phishing and spear phishing attacks are relatively simple to contain – and it was confirmed that the attempted attacks had no negative effect on students or staffs. Staff are warned of phishing attacks, which appears to help. The University also suggested the attacks had a positive impact – as it allowed the University to ‘have a more secure IT environment and improved user awareness’. Finally, the University classed their existing security controls to deal with cyber-attacks as ‘adequate’ – which was the second highest option on a four-point scale.
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Some interesting statistics! It is alarming the level of phishing attacks that take place. However we should also remember that all of those junk email messages we all get are often phishing attacks – so perhaps the figure of 200 is actually quite small! In any case, it is good that the University have rigorous provisions to ensure no cyber attacks have a detrimental effect on the University. The fact that the University says it is learning from the mistakes too is even better!