Why these 5 campus security concerns are high-priority

What IT needs to know to stay one step ahead of cyber attacks and student data leaks.

security-IT-2015[*Editor’s Note: This article originally appears in the Jan/Feb digital edition: http://ecampusnews.eschoolmedia.com/current-issue/]

Security of college students is a growing concern for the students themselves; for their parents, relatives and friends; and for colleges and universities. The security concerns are two fold, both for the physical security of the students themselves and for the security of the student data on university systems.

Both those seeking to cause physical harm and those seeking to attack data systems continue to advance their techniques, pushing college security experts to continue to evolve security strategies to stay ahead of the threats.

To better help institutions keep one step ahead, here are the top five campus IT security trends for 2015:

1. Monitoring of higher education social media

Today’s college students are engaged on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and other social media platforms for hours every day.

So are hackers looking to spoof a classmate, professor, university organization, popular off-campus gathering places or a variety of other entities. The idea is to lure the most people in as possible says Chris Cullison, chief technology officer for ZeroFOX, a Baltimore, Md.-based social risk management company.

“We monitor campus sites, and different university [social media] assets to make sure what’s out there is legit and not something nefarious,” Cullison says. “Social media doesn’t use email, so there are no direct virus scans and no immediate way to tell if [a person or entity] sending you something is legitimate or not.”

That verification is important, Cullison says, because one of the popular methods hackers use to spoof sites is to buy followers so that the site looks more legitimate than the legitimate one. As many as 5,000 followers can be purchased for as little as $10. The more followers on social media, the more likely the unknowing person will think a fake social media Facebook or other site or Twitter feed is legitimate.

(Next page: Evolving BYOD; layered security)