US universities are at higher risk of being hit with security breaches during the school year, compared to other sectors such as retail, healthcare, a new report from BitSight Technologies notes.
The report added that the most of these universities are not properly equipped to avoid and deal with such cyber attacks, making them to more vulnerable compared to retail and healthcare.
Almost all of the attacks experienced by higher education institutions are from malware infections, with Flashback being the most common, that mainly focuses on Apple PCs, while other well-known malware include Ad-ware and Conficker.
Universities have turned out to be targets of several attacks as they possess a trove of susceptible and personal information, ranging from addresses and social security numbers to credit card numbers and intellectual property.
The report noted: "University cybersecurity is a complex game that involves juggling a high volume of open network access points, diverse technology needs, multiple compliance and regulatory measures and the protection of high value information, such as student and faculty data or even sensitive intellectual property.
"It is no wonder that these organisations often drop the ball. Whereas businesses often have dedicated security teams that can work in conjunction with IT groups to create manageable network access points and maintain certain restrictions, security teams at schools are often left playing catch up."
A recent hack hitting 4.5 million patients of the US Community Health Systems [CHS] has provoked speculation over hackers’ intentions from the security sector.