10 Things Your School Should Be Doing to Protect You

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In light of recent massive cyber security breaches at the University of Maryland and Indiana University, Chris Ensey, COO of Dunbar Digital Armor, urges parents and students to review the 10 steps colleges and universities should be taking to prepare for a cyber attack.

In light of the recent cyber security breaches at major U.S. universities, including the University of Maryland and Indiana University, it is important that students and parents are aware of the measures that should be taken to protect them. University students are especially vulnerable targets due to their short credit history, which allows fraudulent activity to go undetected for much longer than it would on an established adult.

Students need to be especially vigilant in checking and monitoring their credit or enrolling in credit monitoring programs to alert them to potential identity theft. In addition, it has become increasingly apparent that colleges and universities need to be on alert and take immediate action to protect the data of this vulnerable population.

Chris Ensey, Chief Operating Officer of Dunbar Digital Armor, has provided 10 steps that all colleges and universities need to be taking in order to ensure sensitive student, faculty, and staff information is safe.

1. Universities need to take proactive measures to reevaluate their security posture and establish a quarterly review process to continuously refine their risk management process.

2. The proactive measures need to be used in university networks as well as satellite campus networks and subsidiaries. Research universities often are directly tied to hospital networks and professional laboratories, these are prime targets.

3. They should institute a rigorous plan for data encryption. This means all data associated with students, staff, and accounts.

4. The institution must evaluate their partners, technology integrations, and any other open access provided to outside parties.

5. Analyze unmonitored servers. Many universities are sitting on hundreds or even thousands of servers associated with research or past IT investments. These non-critical systems are jumping off points for attacks—decommissioning older legacy systems is not a bad thing.

6. Take account of how much of the university's logs, alerts, and sensors are being put to real use. Note if there is pertinent security data available to detect a threat before the breach that is being overlooked.

7. If data analysis is overwhelming, engage the support of professional security organizations. The scope and volume of data to analyze can be more than IT staff can keep pace with on a regular basis.

8. Training and awareness is key for all parties involved. This includes training students coming on campus for the first time on the common challenges associated with cyber security, personal privacy, and acceptable use.

9. Capitalize on the data found in prior breaches. As with any successful hack, the paper trail reveals valuable information about the adversary tactics and exploits. This valuable information can be used to improve security for the overall university community.

10. Share information openly on attempted attacks with peers and CERT organizations. The entire university system is better off when this information is socialized.

Christopher Ensey, Chief Operating Officer of Dunbar Digital Armor:
Christopher Ensey has over a decade of experience in systems engineering and digital security. He has served as a the Associate Director of the IBM Institute for Advanced Security, which is a hub of IT security experts, offering collaboration and insights into the problems faced in todays IT environments. In addition Ensey served as the Director of Government Security Solutions for SafeNet where he worked to develop and implement sustainable, cybersecurity solutions for complex environments like those found in critical infrastructure, cloud, and defense and intelligence networks.

Ensey holds a B.S. in computer engineering from Virginia Tech.

Dunbar Digital Armor:
Dunbar Digital Armor is based in Hunt Valley, Maryland and provides industry leading cyber-security solutions. By engaging best-of-breed technologies to provide a holistic approach to information security, Dunbar Digital Armor delivers Security-as-a-Service though a rapidly deployable digital platform that unifies threat management and provides visibility into an organization’s risk posture. Dunbar is committed to transforming how customers view and manage risk for their organizations; safeguarding information, brand reputation and revenue; and teaming people, technology, and processes to mitigate digital security threats.

For more information on Dunbar Digital Armor please contact Claire Cullen or visit http://www.digitalarmored.com.

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Claire Cullen
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