- An analysis of 20,000 organizations by security ratings firm BitSight found education institutions suffered malware attacks in greater proportions than their peers in government, healthcare, energy, retail or finance.
- Information Week Dark Reading reports that 10% of education institutions had been attacked with malware, while 6% of government entities, 3.5% of healthcare organizations, 3.4% of energy companies or utilities, 3.2% of retailers and 1.5% of financial organizations had the same.
- BitSights analysis tracked malware traffic, meaning it could tell whether an organization had been infected but could not tell whether the organization ended up paying a ransom to recover its data or not.
Hackers plant ransomware through malware that encrypts network data. Then they demand a ransom from institutional leaders in exchange for an encryption code that will free all of that data. The situation can be debilitating for organizations that need steady access to all of their files. While IT professionals can manually restore prior versions of corrupted files or work to break an encryption, both options take a very long time, and some organizations pay the ransom to save themselves the work.
Horry County Schools in Conway, SC, paid about $8,000 to unlock its data earlier this year after deciding that money was worth the faster access to their computer systems. Colleges and universities have also been frequent victims of ransomware and other cyberattacks because of the quantity of data they have in relatively unsecured networks.