Malware attacks against higher education institutions rose by 26% last year, according to SonicWall’s 2023 Cyber Threat Report.
The report, published earlier this month, found that while malware attacks rose, ransomware attacks targeting higher education institutions declined 29% last year.
Malware targeting connected smart devices rose 146% in the education sector last year, and encrypted malware attacks over HTTPS rose 411%, the report said.
Richard Forno, assistant director of the University of Maryland Baltimore County Center for Cybersecurity, told Inside Higher Ed it’s more common to encounter malware online than ransomware.
“If you’re a college student in a dorm room or a staff or faculty member browsing a website or on social media, you may eventually download some malicious software,” Forno said.
While higher education institutions saw increases in malware attacks, K-12 institutions fared much worse, with attacks increasing 323% in 2022. Forno told Inside Higher Ed that K-12 institutions are more likely to face budget limitations.