Fending off cyberattacks at U-M together

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Students walk around and work at the computing center at North Campus.
(3/8/18 Student life Stock photography taken on North Campus)

IT security is a well worn phrase, but that doesn’t make it any less important. Ransomware, phishing, and cyberattacks are on the rise and, increasingly, they target higher education. The most effective way to defend against them is to work together.

According to an April 14 Chronicle of HIgher Education article (Cyberattacks Are Spiking. Colleges Are Fighting Back.), the FBI has been tracking an escalating number of extortion and ransomware attacks at campuses across the U.S. since the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020. 

In March 2021, the FBI warned of an uptick in extortion attacks targeting higher education, and the IRS warned of tax-refund phishing targeting universities. ITS Information Assurance (IA) has shared these and other alerts with the university community.

U-M defenses

ITS and other U-M IT providers have many defenses in place to protect U-M data and systems and have added more in recent months. Here are just a few of them:

Your responsibility

As U-M employees and community members, we all share in the responsibility to help protect U-M IT systems and data. 

That means protecting your U-M account, watching out for phishing, using the appropriate U-M services for the types of data you work with, and securing any personal devices that you use for U-M work.

In this together

It’s easy to feel helpless when faced with a constant stream of news headlines about data breaches and vulnerabilities, but we’ve got each others’ backs. Together, we can do a lot to thwart threats, ward off attacks, and nip potential incidents in the bud. Every single one of us truly makes a difference when it comes to protecting the U.

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