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COMMENT: Over 2 millions uni credentials breached

June 2023 by Marc Jacob Andy Robertson, Head of Fujitsu Cyber Security, Fujitsu UK&I

New research has found that over two million credentials from top UK universities and research facilities have been breached, heightening the risk of cyberattacks. And for a sector that’s long been a favourite target for bad actors, the news suggests this trend is showing few signs of reversing.

Andy Robertson, Head of Enterprise and Cybersecurity Business at Fujitsu UK and Ireland, shares their thoughts on the next steps institutions need to take to protect themselves, staff and students.

“The sheer number of available credentials is made more concerning by how attractive universities and research facilities are as targets for cyber criminals, as the often under resourced establishments leaves gaps for criminals to exploit. In fact, it was only less than a year ago that 92% of higher learning institutions reported having recently been attacked or breached and these findings show bad actors’ still have their sights on higher education.

“Universities need to develop more sophisticated security measures or this trend will never end. For example, institutions need to look at who holds a high privilege account and whether they are abiding by basic security best practises like changing their password regularly or using multi-factor authentication. They could even consider Privileged Access Management (PAM) solutions, which some businesses rely upon to manage and monitor high-value systems and accounts. Conditional access to data can also be put in place, which dictates who can connect to internal servers and where they can do it from.

“However, these technical solutions need to be married with cybersecurity education. Students and staff can act as a more robust first line of defence if given the knowledge and tools to identify possible threats and safeguard their own information. The corporate sector has long committed to cybersecurity measures to protect their customers – it’s high time universities did the same for their students.”

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