Threat horizon and industry outlook
Education institutions will likely continue to face
cyber threats due to the valuable information stored on school
networks and the ability for threat actors to use network
infrastructure to launch operations against other targets. University
networks in particular are difficult for administrators to effectively
secure, given the network’s size and number of users, as well as the
need for internal and external users to access and share information.
We anticipate that the following factors will also influence threat
activity towards the sector:
- Involvement in research programs that may have
a potentially high economic payoff or support sensitive government
research contracts would probably lead to increased targeting from
APT groups in search of related intelligence to benefit their
sponsoring government or associated state-owned companies.
- Association with high profile or influential academics or
dissidents would likely also result in greater threat activity from
APT groups seeking to gather information that would allow their
sponsoring government to monitor that individual’s activity, and
gain insight into policy discussions.
- Perceived role as a
highly visible or symbolic target may lead to threat activity from
hacktivists or APT groups seeking to disrupt website or network
operations for political purposes.
- Involvement in
controversy may lead to threat activity from hacktivists seeking to
protest and embarrass the victim organization through disrupting
website access, defacing webpages, or stealing and exposing the
organization’s sensitive information.