Colleges: High Rate of Infection

Monday, October 21, 2013 @ 07:10 PM gHale


Of all the agencies, businesses and universities in the world, colleges fall victim to malware attacks more frequently, a new report said.

Higher education networks were 300 percent more likely to contain malware than government organizations or business entities that faced the same cyber attacks, according to San Francisco-based cloud security company, OpenDNS. The cloud security company probed its network of 50 million worldwide users and was able to compile those results.

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OpenDNS analyzed its network over the last six months, delineating the types of organizations impacted by malware infections, said Dan Hubbard, OpenDNS’ CTO.

The higher incidence of compromise at educational entities is telling of the expansive user base connecting to college and university networks, which often leaves organizations exposed to attacks, Hubbard said.

Students taking their laptops on and off school grounds and connecting the devices to unsecure Wi-Fi networks, or engaging in other risky online activities, could open school networks to any number of threats, he said.

During the probe of its network, OpenDNS also found malware called EXPIRO was the top threat impacting educational organizations.

Expiro gets to victims via exploit kits, which target users running vulnerable Java plug-ins or Adobe PDF installations.

Users end up infected with EXPIRO via drive-by download, he said.

To protect users from visiting malicious sites and block infected devices from phoning home, some of the best practices that colleges and universities can implement include:
• • Alerting users when new “spear phishing” campaigns against the institution are detected
• Using predictive analytics to block “malvertising” and “watering hole” Web attacks
• Applying DNS-based enforcement to prevent malware-infected devices from phoning home to botnet operators over non-Web connections



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