Experts say universities are among most vulnerable to data breaches

Universities are particularly vulnerable to hacks and data breaches because of their lack of experience dealing with such attacks, and the time to combat them, according to leading credit card processing company Arrow Payments.

Multiple reports reveal that universities are among the top targets of hackers, along with corporations and providers of health care.

Last year, universities were the target of one of the most sophisticated and largest attacks of recent years, with more than 300 institutions victimized. Nine Iranians were indicted over the attacks.

The consequences of a breach are highly damaging, with the potential a higher education institution's reputation is "wrecked," said Bryan Jurewicz, Arrow Payments chief operations and operating officer.

Chicago-based Arrow Payments has started working with universities, beginning with Northwestern, Jurewicz said, to help combat these types of attacks.

"Universities just do not have the experience and knowledge ... we can give them flexibility," Jurewicz said. "We provide payment processes and solutions."

While it was not a software breach, in what can be seen as an example of what experts might describe as the naivety or recklessness of some universities, Washington State University recently settled a lawsuit for $4.7 million after unecrypted data on 1.2 million people gathered for research was breached after a hard disk drive was stolen.

Arrow Payments works with the institutions to help cut the cost, intricacy and use of resources to make sure they do not have a data breach connected to their credit card processing, thereby protecting both students and alumni.

This is particularly important for students just starting to develop financial stability, according to the company.

Arrow Payments also provides customer support, which gives university staff the flexibility to focus on other core tasks.

According to Arrow Payments, higher education institutions face unique challenges, largely due to the fact they have multiple campuses and departments within those campuses. Data must be secured across each, and the security consistent.

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Arrow Payments Northwestern Washington State University

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