Vinson Pressley/Staff Writer
American universities are being attacked by relentless computer hackers from around the world who are desperate for secured information. According to a New York Times article by Richard Pérez-Peña, some of our best research universities have become ideal targets for cyber attacks from around the globe since universities tend to be more open and willing to share information to promote their research and are not as guarded as corporations or government agencies.
Research universities like FIU work tirelessly to conduct and produce research that, in the long-term, will enhance the quality of our lives and make our society better. Unfortunately, tech-savvy criminals have found a way to exploit and capitalize on the endeavors of universities that strive to improve our way of living.
According to the article, the University of Wisconsin receives 90,000-100,000 cyber attacks on a daily basis, allegedly from China alone. The article later mentioned that the same university has received cyber attacks from Russia and Vietnam.
Although many experts suggest China is behind many cyber attacks, the article discussed that, most of the time, it is highly difficult to pinpoint exactly where on Earth these information assaults are coming from, when the assault took place and what was stolen. Information thieves have devised ways to bounce their efforts from all over the world without being detected, which probably makes it more enticing to go after protected and valuable information with unyielding intensity; if successful, the stolen information can be used for profit, political or national security reasons.
This ignites concern because it makes me wonder: If the methods of information theft have become so sophisticated that it has almost become untraceable and the perpetrators untouchable, is someone out there utilizing my personal information for their benefit? If universities can have their security systems penetrated, how difficult can it be to swipe my personal information? The article discussed how university officials have admitted that their security systems have been successfully compromised by hackers from abroad, so if it is possible at the university level, then it must be incredibly easy on the individual level. These alarming notions do not warrant paranoia but they do make me think twice about what I put online and reconsider who I decide to share information with.
Although some individuals from all over the world are making earnest attempts to satisfy their malicious curiosity of valuable information, some universities are spending millions of dollars and teaming up with the Federal Bureau of Investigation to combat chronic cyber attacks.
1. “Universities Face a Rising Barrage of Cyberattacks,” via The News York Times