Decision to pay hackers for hijacked systems more complex than meets the eye
- Los Angeles Valley College and the University of Calgary share the dubious distinction of having paid hackers to free their systems and files from ransomware, malicious technology that is becoming more of a persistent problem in higher education for presidents and CIOs.
- Campus Technology analyzes the decision-making associated with paying ransoms for hacked systems, which frequently does not restore captured data and networks but allows officials to regain access to their own systems in order to begin restoration processes.
- The Federal Bureau of Investigation says that the total amount of payments made in the United States to hackers has increased by more than $180 million in the last two years, and on campuses, ransomware is prevalent due to the number of users and devices with the opportunity to click on suspicious emails and links.
The increase in ransomware infections at colleges worldwide should be a sign that no comprehensive prevention plan can eliminate what one person and one bad link can do to an entire network. This means that institutions must invest in stronger network protections and well-resourced IT units to predict bad activity and to promote smarter usage among faculty and students.
Leaders who adapt strong systems of information prioritization and consistent training programs for campus constituents are the ones who will fare best against future cyber attacks that are nearly certain to occur on campus.