Hackers Target Universities Millions of Times Each Week

Personal details, intellectual property at risk

By Ruth Brown,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 17, 2013 9:48 AM CDT

(Newser) – College campuses are becoming increasingly less safe, but the threat is not physical. Universities are under attack from hackers, with America's institutions of higher learning facing millions of attempted cyberattacks, mostly from China, every week, the New York Times reports. At stake is far more than a bunch of first-year essays on War and Peace: personal details, like Social Security numbers; or valuable research data and intellectual property are at risk. And as the attacks increase, universities are having to rethink their culture of openness.

"We get 90,000 to 100,000 attempts per day, from China alone," says an associate dean at the University of Wisconsin. Some universities now advise faculty from taking computers and cellphones out of the country, while others require that those who do have their computers scrubbed on return. And fighting off this growing threat comes at an increasingly high cost, reports the Times. Purdue spent more than $1 million on security for a single program related to infectious diseases. At UC Berkley, the multimillion-dollar cybersecurity budget has doubled since last year. "We treat the overall Berkeley network as just as hostile as the Internet outside," says the university's network security manager.

  (Shutterstock)
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