Cyber attacks today are common occurrences that continue to cause copious amounts of damage to companies across the US. According to Fortune, the estimated total cost of cyber attacks per year is 400 billion dollars. With attacks to company data across the US being such a common occurrence, it is easy to lose track of individual breaches that happen almost every day. However, the recent news that UCLA Health was a victim of cyber crime on July 17, 2015 is important news that should not get lost in the news of the security world.
Even though, according to UCLA Health, no personal or medical data was accessed, the principal of a university’s data being accessed is a terrifying principal to any student or anyone paying to put a student through school. With today’s world dominated by the use of computers, Internet and online data, education is too. From a monetary prospective it is easy to see why a data hack would be catastrophic; tuition, on campus housing, dining commons charges, tutoring and athletics are all paid online through the school. Hackers could instantly have access to these transfers by a data breach. Even more damaging than the money that could be stolen, is the information that is accessible if one could gain access to university data. A breach to a school gives the hacker access to homework grades, test scores, transcript info, and social security numbers. This is data that could completely alter someone’s GPA and could be an instrument in identity theft. Although it may be difficult to recover from stolen money, it can be nearly impossible to completely repair damage done from a personal data hack.
I have been interning for Aegify over the summer months away from my education at UC Santa Barbara, a sister school to UCLA, and have learned a lot about the cyber security world. I was notified about the UCLA attacks in an email sent out to all UC Santa Barbara students that told us about the attacks and notified us that that the UCSB security system is being reworked as it was similar to that of UCLA. The realization that my personal data along with any other students’ could so easily be accessed and the implications of what effects a cyber hack could have was eye opening. Any university could be subject to the same breach of data, and every student is potentially at risk. Above all the demand for effective security systems has never been so high, and students are in need of the tools to protect our data, and ultimately our future.
Chris Leahy is an intern at Aegify and is a second year Economics student at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He has worked in the marketing department as of Summer 2015. To learn more about how to protect your company against cyber hacks, please click HERE to register for our LIVE webinar led by Aegify CEO Anupam Sahai on Thursday August 6, from 11:00 AM- 12:00 PM PDT.