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Largest Cyber Attack in University of Colorado History Exposes Personal Health Information and Social Security Numbers


The University of Colorado released new information about the Accellion data breach that compromised more than 310,000 university records [1]. Data exposed in the breach included grades and transcript data, visa and disability status, medical and prescription information and in limited cases, Social Security numbers and university financial account information.

Ransomware attacks represent the number one cybersecurity threat for universities. [2] In 2020, attacks against higher education were up 100% compared to 2019 with the average ransom demand being $447,000.

According to APOORV AGARWAL, CO-FOUNDER AND CEO AT TEXT IQ, an artificial intelligence platform for sensitive data:

“Ransomware attacks on universities are problematic since schools collect and store personal information for all parties. This can include bank or credit card information, health records, social security numbers, and birth certificates. Cybercriminals prefer to target entities like universities, especially with less in-person instruction, because of the wealth of data they possess and the fact that universities, unlike enterprises, may not spend tens of millions of dollars each year on cybersecurity.

Cyberattacks are a painful reminder for higher education institutions to better understand what sensitive data they hold, and to invest in protocols and technologies to automate the process of determining whose data has been breached. Investing in secure automation platforms that accurately identify sensitive information using AI may be the only feasible way for these institutions to enable response teams to make quicker, more informed and more accurate decisions on who to notify based on applicable regulations.”

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