Cyber spying on universities
Cyber spying on universities is the practice of obtaining secrets and information without the permission and knowledge of the university through its information technology system. Universities in the United Kingdom, including Oxford and Cambridge, have been targets, as have institutions in the US and Australia.
Universities are targets for cyber espionage due to wealth of personally identifiable information they possess on students, employees, people who buy tickets to sporting events, and, if the university has an academic medical center, on patients treated there; information about research projects with industrial or military application are also targets. The culture of information sharing within universities also makes them easy targets.
Breaches can arise from people sharing credentials, phishing, web-crawlers inadvertently finding exposed access points, password cracking, and other standard hacking methods. University credentials are bought and sold on web forums, darknet markets and other black markets.
Stanford University advises its employees to take IT precautions when they travel abroad.
In March 2018, the U.S. charged and sanctioned nine Iranians and the Iranian company Mabna Institute for hacking and attempting to hack hundreds of universities on behalf of the Iranian government.
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