IoT necessitates greater student understanding of cybersecurity
- The increasing presence of connected devices on college campuses necessitates that students have a greater understanding of cybersecurity risks.
- Campus Technology reports that a cyberattack last October that took down a large portion of the internet began with hackers gaining access to personal devices like cameras and DVRs, and another recent attack that began with connected slow cookers allowed hackers to access pictures, texts and emails on smartphones.
- To simplify cybersecurity risks among IoT to students, IT leaders can use an example provided by Campus Technology in which hackers gain access to webcams via their internet connections, infect the device with malware, and can then use it to spy, spread the malware, or seek a larger target like a server.
Many higher ed CIOs have long recognized that their networks' greatest vulnerability is the end user. Two-factor authentication can only go so far, and this has led to a greater focus on educating students, faculty and staff to be skeptical of every link they click. At the University of Dayton, for example, Associate Provost and CIO Dr. Thomas Skill initiated a campaign around "cyber mindfulness" that includes running phishing tests from KnowBe4; sending updates, warnings and the latest security news; and offering incentives and prizes for people to complete certain actions.
The K-12 sector, however, may be more vulnerable. With devices like tablets and Chromebooks becoming a greater presence in classrooms — not to mention more students having smartphones at younger ages — cybersecurity awareness must begin even earlier than higher ed. One wrong click in a phishing email, for example, could set off a domino chain that ultimately provides a hacker access to a school or district's entire network and all of the data contained therein.
With collaboration between K-12 and higher ed on the rise, this is yet another area where postsecondary IT leaders can potentially assist their elementary and secondary peers with the best practices they've developed at their institutions.
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