WHY CAREFREE UNIVERSITY STUDENTS RISK BECOMING EASY PREY FOR eCRIMINALS

  • British universities and colleges warned about spike in ransomware attacks by the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), a part of GCHQ.

·      40% of students do not consider the risk of a cyber-attack after sharing log in details

·      57% admit using the same passwords for multiple accounts

·      Mum and dad at risk too with 53% of undergraduates using parents’ accounts

University is one of the most liberating experiences in a young person’s life. In many cases, it is their first real taste of freedom, away from home and their parents’ watchful eyes, in new surroundings and the chance to form firm friendships and savour plenty of new and exciting experiences.

Whether students are living in halls of residence on campus, shared accommodation nearby or digs around town, they will need to reconfigure their collection of laptops, tablets and smartphones to log in to new WiFi networks to stay connected to a range of apps and services, from email to streaming.

But, as they get to know their new mates better, many students could unwittingly put themselves and their universities at risk of being targeted by eCriminals just by sharing their personal login details.

It comes as British universities and colleges have been warned about a spike in ransomware attacks by the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), a part of GCHQ.1.

Universities are vulnerable because more than half (53%) of students use the same device to log in to their email as they do to access their institution’s educational infrastructure according to new research from cyber-security and eCrime experts CrowdStrike, with 14% even revealing their email account username and password details too.

More than 20 universities and charities in the UK, US and Canada were targeted when 4.Blackbaud, the world’s largest provider of education administration software, was hacked – the universities of Oxford, Birmingham, Exeter, York, Leeds and London were among the institutions affected.

University students are most likely to share log in details to Netflix (46%), Amazon Prime (26%) and Spotify (19%).

And by the end of their first year students are already sharing their details with multiple friends knowing their passwords. Undergraduates take approximately nine months (41 weeks) to get to know someone well enough to share their online passwords with them, with less than half (40%) concerned they could become a victim of eCrime as a result.

Of those who do share log in details, more than half (57%) admit to using the same passwords for multiple accounts, leaving themselves open to the threat of various attacks. Mums and dads could be at risk too as 53% of undergraduates use their parents’ accounts.