University Data Breaches: Why eFileCabinet Is the Resolution

The subject of data breaches was a hot topic in 2014 and 2015, with several high-profile cases of hacking rising to the top of the news cycle as businesses and organizations struggled to stay a step ahead of malicious hackers and protect the confidential information of their employees and customers.

Big names like Target and Sony were no safer than smaller businesses, bringing to the public consciousness the need to take advanced measures to protect organizations from the threat of data breach.

While private enterprises have been the most high-profile victims of data breaches in recent years, their is another group of organizations that is regularly experiencing digital attacks to their information and databases— universities and educational institutions.

In 2014 alone, FIVE universities were the victims of breaches larger than the one that was carried out on Sony. That doesn’t include the countless smaller-scale breaches that have taken places at other institutions.

In this article, we’ll discuss the kinds of breaches that universities most commonly experience, examine three significant university data breaches that took place in 2015, discuss what went wrong, and address an increasingly effective tool that could help prevent attacks like this from proving successful in the future.


University Data Breaches: Alarming Facts and Figures

Hackers who target universities are usually after one of two goals— either obtaining and illegally using the personal information of administrators, employees and students or gaining access to valuable research information that takes place at respected institutions.

Universities are often easy targets because their open environment meant to foster learning can often leave them exposed to points of access for hackers. Additionally, hackers recognize that educational institutions store a high volume of personal data and research information.

Let’s take a look at a few recent university data breaches and their effects.


University of Virginia, August 2015

In August of 2015, the University of Virginia announced that attackers based in China had illegally gained access to its information technology database which houses countless items of personal data of students and employees.

As a result, all users were required to change their university e-services login information and the university’s IT systems were taken down for an entire weekend in order to complete a “comprehensive security upgrade” to the institution’s technology systems.

The attack target in particular two employees with ties to China, and was at the time only the most recent in a string of attacks targeting universities and originating in China.


Harvard University, June 2015

Harvard announced in mid-June that it had experienced and “intrusion” into its computer networks, revealing that two IT systems had been illegally accessed, impacting eight colleges and administrations affiliated with Harvard.

As a result, students at all eight schools were required to completely reset all of their school security information, including passwords and login information.

The breach resulted in increased security measures by Harvard in an attempt to protect students and employees from further hacks.


Penn State University, May 2015

In the Spring of 2015, Penn State University president Eric Barron was forced to release a statement announcing that Penn’s College of Engineering had fallen victim to not one, but two “highly-sophisticated cyber attacks.”

After being informed by the FBI that an attack had occurred, the university was forced to disconnect the entire system from the internet and initiate a large-scale investigation into the attack.

Meanwhile, the University launched an intensive process required to recover all affected systems. President Barron promised improved security measures to prevent such a security breach from taking place in the future.


Document Management Systems: A Weapon in the Fight Against Hackers

One sad detail that’s shared by each of these cases is the vow by university administrators to increase security measures in light of the attack. By that point, the attack has already occurred and the trust placed in the institution by its students and employees has already been lost.

Wouldn’t it be great if there were tools that could be implemented today that would help prevent any attack from ever taking place?

One such tool is the implementation of a powerful and extremely secure document management system like eFileCabinet. eFileCabinet’s high-level encryption algorithms and cutting-edge security features make it the proven choice of educational institutions, private enterprises and public organizations all over the world. Providing a secure and unified location for the storage of sensitive and critical information, eFileCabinet can serve large organizations like universities without breaking a sweat, all while offering built-in security features that will ensure the safety and peace-of-mind of all users.

To find out how eFileCabinet can prevent your university or institution from ending up on the “victims list”, fill out the short form included on this page and enjoy a free 15-minute demo of eFileCabinet’s SecureDrawer software. Then, feel free to explore the site further to find out more about eFileCabinet’s powerful capabilities.