Cyberattacks are increasingly common for businesses of all types. But as was recently shown in an incident at the University of Saskatchewan, smart planning and defences can prevent or reduce the impact of a cyberattack.
In February 2020, hackers targeted the university with a denial-of-service (DoS) attack. These attacks involve a hacker using multiple computers to bombard a website with connection requests. When there are too many requests, the servers can slow or crash the site.
However, in this case, university officials were able to stave off both the denial-of-service assault and any potential loss of data. In a statement, the university noted that it uses continuous network monitoring services to look for suspicious activity. The university could then isolate the attack to reduce damage.
The school has an extensive website dedicated to network security, detailing steps it took in June 2019 to segment networks to limit the spread of malware, protect important resources and allow for additional resources to be added. There are several FAQ sections with information about remote access, the university’s approach to cybersecurity, why the changes are necessary and how the changes will affect users.
Saskatchewan was the second Canadian university to be hit with a severe cyberattack in February. Confederation College was hit with a malware attack. While students reported getting fake emails and phone calls, a school official noted that no personal information was believed to be accessed during the attack.
The university attack was the second major incident involving a large institution in the province. In January 2020, eHealth Saskatchewan was hit by a ransomware attack.
In that incident, administrative functions were crippled, although no personal information was reported stolen and clinical services were not disrupted.
Schools and health care systems are rich targets for hackers. The latter, for example, contains large amounts of personal information, including contact information and credit card numbers that can be sold or used to steal identities and rack up large expenses.
In the eHealth attack, the organization’s antivirus software detected ransomware attacks and issued alerts, allowing officials to shut down affected servers and begin repairs. Officials did not disclose how much the hackers demanded in ransom but stated they were not going to pay.
In the university and eHealth attacks, it appears that preventive measures in place helped minimize the impact of assaults. That’s the intent of any robust security solution.
The key for companies is to prepare well in advance for potential assaults. Those cybersecurity solutions should include:
403Tech offers a full array of cybersecurity solutions. Learn how we help Calgary businesses protected and schedule your initial conversation with one of our cybersecurity experts.
The COVID-19 pandemic sent businesses scrambling to pivot from an office-based environment to a remote workforce. A recent issue of Business in Calgary featured 403Tech President Scott Gallupe, who advised on how local businesses can protect their IT systems from cybersecurity threats. He explained that passwords and video collaboration tools are possible entryways for viruses and malware. The article, Alright, Stop, Collaborate and Listen, features several local IT leaders, describes the issues faced by business owners during the pandemic and provides guidance on ways to protect business data from ransomware and other types of cyberattacks.