Be alert for potential cyberattacks, UNO warns


Anton Johnson

Russian hostilities have increased the threat of cyberattacks, university administration warns. Photo by Andrew Smith/The Gateway.

UNO Chancellor Joanne Li and NU Vice President for Information Technology Bret Blackman put out a statement Monday warning of an increased threat of cyberattacks on the university system, and assured that the University of Nebraska System’s Information Technology and Services is engaged in best practices to defend the university’s digital assets.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has put several nations on high alert, even outside of Eastern Europe. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has warned organizations across the country that Russia may consider actions to destabilize Ukraine’s Western allies. That could include cyberattacks on American universities.

Due to reliance on technology in the pandemic, schools and universities have become a major target for cyberattacks. According to Microsoft Security Intelligence, the education sector accounted for over 80% reported malware encounters in the past 30 days.

The administration said students can protect themselves by reporting any suspicious emails using the “Report Phish” option on Microsoft Outlook. Phishing is the practice of using fraudulent emails to get victims to reveal personal information like passwords and credit card numbers. Students who believe they have been victims of phishing should immediately change their passwords and contact the UNO Help Desk.

Two-factor authentication is another tool to protect students online. Students can reject any requests from the Duo app that did not come from them. 

Cybersecurity training through Bridge is also available to all students, faculty and staff. Bridge is accessible through Canvas on the bottom left corner.

To further protect themselves, individuals can make sure all of their software is up to date, and avoid reusing passwords, clicking suspicious links, and sharing passwords online.