Data breaches affecting Universities

Posted on: 17 November 2017
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This month our Information and IT Security officer, Graeme Wolfe, looks at more reported data security breaches affecting Universities and ways to avoid being in the media for all the wrong reasons.

You may have seen the news item in early November, about another University suffering a data breach, this time it was the University of East Anglia. If you didn’t, view the media stories on the  BBC  and the The Register web pages.

It would appear that UEA suffered a similar breach a few months back, where sensitive personal information was sent to the wrong people.

Lessons need to be learnt from this breach, which is why if you are thinking of sending sensitive information out by email, you should ask yourself a couple of basic questions.

  1. Should I be sending this by email?
  2. Who exactly am I sending this to and why?

Double check before you hit ‘send’ that you are sending the email to the right person and not a mailing list or someone with the same first name as your intended recipient. Mistakes are easy to make and almost impossible to rectify.

There are other methods of sharing data with people that can be more secure than email. For further guidance, we can advise on how to gain access to and use, an encrypted email service for your University account.

The Security and compliance team are here to help and advise anyone who deals with sensitive information at the University and how you can store and transmit such information securely. Also to ensure our University does not suffer a breach and receive media headlines similar to those currently in the press.

Graeme Wolfe

Information and IT Security Officer


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