Should universities be concerned about students hacking their networks?
Are students to blame for university cyberattacks? Source: Annie Spratt/ Unsplash

In relation to the contemporary issue of cybercrime, the Tech Wire Asia team highlighted that “With advancements like the internet of things and artificial intelligence (AI), the number of vulnerabilities has increased exponentially.”

Often people assume that it’s just businesses that feel overshadowed by online security threats and tech-savvy hackers. However, it’s also universities.

With academic networks seeping with data of local and international students, it’s a prime target for any technological genius that wants to swoop in and steal important documents.

As BBC News reported, a government-funded security analysis recently found that members of staff or students could be responsible for cyberattacks against colleges and universities in the UK, rather than organised hacking groups.

“The agency, which provides internet and computer services across the higher and further education sectors, has produced a report showing that the peaks and troughs of attacks mirror when students and staff were most likely to be present.”

Additionally, the article adds, “Rather than criminal gangs or agents of foreign powers, the findings suggest many of the attacks on universities and colleges are more likely to have been caused by disgruntled staff or students wanting to provoke chaos.”

By unleashing findings such as these into the public sphere, universities may try to increase the monitoring of their staff and their students’ online activities without the disruption of privacy.

Another crucial element that universities may pull from this report is the content of their cybersecurity courses. By immersing their students in the know-how of ethical hacking, there’s a risk that some learners are using their newly-acquired hacking skills for unethical practices.

Also, the cybersecurity professors (that are otherwise known as technological experts) are often granted exclusive access to the university’s network. What happens if they aren’t happy with the way the university is treating them and decide to destroy its online structure?

On the plus side, it’s great that many universities around the world are giving students a chance to graduate with a cybersecurity degree. However, how many universities are preserving their online networks and their students’ data with innovative solutions?

And how many are under threat of being hacked by unsatisfied students and disgruntled staff members?

So, with the number of cyberattacks on the rise, would it be fair or unfair for universities to begin pointing fingers?

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