Higher Ed Networks 300 Percent More Likely to Contain Malware

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According to the results of a recent study by OpenDNS' Umbrella Security Labs, higher education networks are 300 percent more likely to contain malware than their enterprise and government counterparts.

The study also determined that the Expiro malware is currently the leading threat to college and university networks. The malware is installed silently when a student or faculty member visits a mlaicious Web site, then steals user and system information. The stolen data is saved in a DLL file, then sent to a command and control server.

"Our research shows that while higher education institutions face the same cyber-attacks as enterprises and government agencies, they tend to be compromised by malware and botnets at a much higher rate," Dan Hubbard, CTO of OpenDNS and head of Umbrella Security Labs, said in a statement. "Clearly, colleges and universities must operate more open networks and support an endless number of access devices, which puts them at higher risk; however, by implementing some fundamental security best practices it is possible to significantly reduce and contain the current rate of infections on campuses."

OpenDNS recommends three best practices to protect college and university networks: alerting users when new spear phishing campaigns targeting the institution are detected, using predictive analytics to block malvertising and watering hole Web attacks, and applying DNS-based enforcement to prevent malware-infected devices from phoning home to botnet operators over non-Web connections.