Education has a much higher rate of ransomware attacks than other industries, according to a recent report that analyzes how different sectors are managing the security challenges these attacks pose.

The rate of new ransomware attacks has jumped in recent years, as numerous industries, including higher education, fall victim to the attacks and struggle to fight them off, according to the report.

Thirteen percent of the higher education sector has been infected with ransomware, according to The Rising Face of Cyber Crime: Ransomware, a BitSight Insight Report.

In fact, advanced strains of ransomware encrypt data on an organization’s network or lock users out of their devices. Hackers then demand a ransom, usually in the form of Bitcoin, before they’ll restore data to normal. Some hackers use “ransomware-as-a-service,” which offers malware-construction kits designed to be easily deployed even with little hacking experience.

U.S. Justice Department estimates show that more than 4,000 ransomware attacks have occurred each day since the beginning of 2016.

In preparation for the report, researchers analyzed cybersecurity measures and ransomware across nearly 20,000 companies in government, healthcare, finance, retail, education, and energy/utilities to identify common forms and pinpoint which industries are are most susceptible to the attacks.

(Next page: Key findings and recommendations)


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