The Achilles heel of higher education might be its cybersecurity provisions, and a new survey reveals just how vulnerable high-ranking security officials feel in the face of an imminent threat.
Specifically, 68% of surveyed education CISOs believe they are at risk of facing a material cyberattack within the next 12 months, and 61% said they would be “unprepared to cope,” according to American enterprise security company Proofpoint and its latest report, “Voice of the CISO.” The survey gathered the opinion of 1,600 chief information security officers (CISO) across different sectors such as healthcare, manufacturing and the public sector.
Even more alarming is that more than half of CISOs in the education sector say their organization “is likely” to pay ransom to prevent and restore lost data. However, of all the sectors surveyed, education had the third-lowest rate of CISOs to believe this statement. For example, 73% of CISOs in retail say they are willing to pay a ransom.
The findings come as colleges in Georgia and Tennessee reel from a slew of cyberattacks that captured sensitive information belonging to parents, students and faculty.
The report includes an insight into what is believed to be some of the most prominent cybersecurity threats they face every day and what leaders expect to see over the next year. CISOs cite four primary tactics used by cybercriminals that leaders should look out for.
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How CISOs perceive threats
Across all sectors, these are the most dangerous threats:
- Email fraud (33%)
- Insider threats (30%)
- Cloud account compromise (29%)
- DDoS attacks (29%)
“Security leaders must remain steadfast in protecting their people and data, a task made increasingly difficult as insiders prove themselves as a significant contributor to sensitive data loss,” Executive Vice President of Cybersecurity Strategy for Proofpoint Ryan Kalember said in a statement.