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How Higher Education Institutions can become more proactive in their cyber security
It’s not enough to simply react quickly and decisively in the event of a cyber incident. Universities and other academic bodies need to change their tactics to plan and prepare for the worst in order to reduce the chance of being compromised.
Published: 19th December 2022 | In: Threat Intelligence & Guidance
The frequency with which higher education institutions have been targeted by cybercriminals is alarming. In fact, it’s one of the sectors that’s most often hit, especially in Europe and North America. The cyber security breaches report reveals that 92% of higher education institutions have admitted to identifying breaches or cyber-attacks in 2021.
This trend looks set to continue if the strategy remains to only react to cyber incidents. By being proactive in their security, universities can get one step ahead of adversaries and reduce the workload and expense of fixing any damage inflicted upon them. This approach can also save time, resources and their reputation, and, of course, keep staff, students’ and researchers’ work safe.
What can universities and colleges do to turn this around?
Building robust security and rolling out cyber awareness training can go a long way to reducing the chances of sustaining a breach in many organisations. But while it may be fairly straightforward to train staff, getting the key messages across to thousands of students who use their own devices for work and research at all hours of the day, and who are first and foremost focusing on their academic studies, isn’t easy.
It’s also important to understand one’s cyber security weaknesses before knowing how to strengthen them. An effective method to do this is to run offensive security exercises to better understand which parts of the IT ecosystem a threat actor might try to penetrate. This way they can take decisive action before anyone can take advantage for their own financial gain.
Quorum Cyber has developed a tried and tested collection of Offensive Security services that has already helped scores of organisations in every sector prepare for all sorts of potential cyber threats.
Offensive Security services
Our CREST certified professionals have years of experience testing security technology to the limits. With your permission, they will work with the mentality of a cybercriminal to mimic what could happen in a real scenario. Using human creativity and ingenuity in combination with automated software tools, proprietary scripts and manual techniques, they will find any weaknesses and advise you on how to fix them affordably.
We offer a range of services to cover your IT infrastructure from end to end including:
Insider Threat Assessment
Assuming that a threat actor has already gained an initial foothold inside your corporate environment, we measure the impact they may have, while enabling your security team to detect and respond to it.
Mobile Application Service Assessment
As the need for mobile application design and development has increased, so has the risk of security flaws. Our service helps identify and remediate security issues in mobile application design for solutions of any size, large or small. By researching the specific threat landscape affecting your business, our experienced team will tailor our cyber-attack simulation to be as methodical and thorough as possible.
Web Application Assessment and Web Service Assessment
Our Web Application Assessment and Web Service Assessment help identify and remediate security issues in your applications. We go beyond existing methodologies, frameworks, and other industry standards, such as documented by the Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP). From brochureware to full enterprise-level solutions, our team of consultants has a wide range of application security experience.
Working onsite, we emulate WiFi-related cyber-attacks to identify threats to the target networks, userbase and attached networks. This includes rogue access points, weak encryption, default configuration, guess network attacks, wireless client base attacks and weak authentication configuration. We also identify possible attack vectors for evil-twin, dis-association and mis-association, and check for default or weak credentials in your wireless set-up. Our consultants can perform assessments on a wide range of environments including remote locations.
This service combines our External Infrastructure Assessment with our Vulnerability Assessment for better value. It’s designed to help you maintain your external infrastructure network, giving you an understanding of, and the ability to remediate, vulnerabilities that may be present on your network on an ongoing basis. We’ll work with you to set up scheduled quarterly vulnerability scans on a given range of IP addresses.
You can see the full range of our dedicated Offensive Security services on our website.
We understand that it might not be easy to decide which of these services are best suited to your exact needs. That’s why we spend time to understand your situation and decide the optimum way to apply our expertise and time to strengthen your security posture.
Whether you cherry-pick a few of our Offensive Security services or require the whole set, we’ll never give your institution a service that you simply don’t need. Our whole ethos is based on a strong moral purpose of helping defend organisations that aren’t able to defend themselves, and give them value for money. So we’d be more than happy to advise you on which services you need depending on your IT environment, your security maturity and your risk appetite.
It’s time to be proactive about cyber security and get ahead of cybercriminals.
Learn more about cyber security in the higher education sector
To find out more about the unique challenges that academic institutions are having to cope with and how Quorum Cyber can assist you, visit the Higher Education page on our website.