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Higher education IT teams are struggling to enforce password rules

password box on computer screen
(Image credit: Image Credit: Christiaan Colen / Flickr)

IT teams in higher education are struggling to enforce strong passwords, resulting in an increasing number of data breaches, new research has claimed. 

To solve the problem, these organizations should deploy password management solutions, says password management solutions provider LastPass. The company recently polled 300 IT professionals employed at higher education institutions and found that this year, 88 percent of these institutions suffered an IT security incident because of poor password management.

Four in 10 respondents reported it was difficult to keep up with cyberattacks, while roughly a third (32 percent) said protecting every entry point and device was a challenge. 

“Password management solutions can complement institutional policies and identity management practices by improving user convenience, reducing the risks of password reuse and password sharing, and enhance the administration of account terminations and forgotten passwords,” commented Kim Milford, Executive Director, The Research and Education Networks Information Sharing and Analysis Center (REN-ISAC).

Cybersecurity experts at Sophos recently published a report on the state of cybersecurity among education organizations and found that almost half (44 percent) suffered a ransomware attack in the past year. Ransomware attacks are usually preceded by a phishing attack in which criminals try to obtain login credentials to various tools and services.

Of all the education organizations hit by ransomware in the last year, Sophos further found, more than half (58 percent) have had their data encrypted. A third of these victims had to pay the ransom fee in order to get their data back, and on average paid $112,435 for the decryption key.