it security

Should you be worried about your institution’s security?

An annual IT security report outlines how education fared against attacks in 2015

Smartphones, social media, and the Internet of Things are all rapidly growing in higher education–and they all pose security risks, according to a massive new report.

In 2015, more than 430 million new unique pieces of malware were discovered by Symantec–up 36 percent from 2014, according to Symantec’s Internet Security Threat Report, which features data pulled from the company’s network. Last year, 429 million total identities were exposed–a 23 percent increase from 2014. An average of 1.3 million identities were exposed with each breach.

The report offers six key findings and trends before delving into vulnerabilities and attacks in detail:
1. A new zero-day vultnerability was discovered on average each week in 2015
2. Over half a billion personal records were stolen or lost in 2015
3. Major security vulnerabilities in three-quarters of popular websites put everyone at risk
4. Spear-phishing campaigns targeting employees increased 55 percent in 2015
5. Ransomware increased 35 percent in 2015
6. Symantec blocked 100 million fake technical support scams in 2015

Educational services ranked third, after healthcare and business services, in top 10 sub-sectors breached, by number of incidents in 2015. Educational services accounted for 5 million of the identities exposed in the services sector in 2015. They also ranked fifth for number of incidents caused by hacking and insider threat.

Next page: Higher education’s IT security concerns

Laura Ascione