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The University of Winnipeg recently fell victim to a cyberattack, resulting in classes being cancelled, the internet being down, and exams being delayed. Technology analyst Carmi Levy stated that universities are often targeted by cybercriminals due to the valuable information they hold and the multiple entry points cybercriminals can exploit. He noted that public institutions like universities often struggle with cybersecurity due to lack of funding, making them ideal targets for cybercriminals. Levy called for a shift in culture to prioritize cybersecurity and provide more training on identifying online red flags to prevent future attacks.

Levy emphasized the importance of cybersecurity in the planning of technology investments for universities and other public institutions, noting that it is often treated as a form of insurance and not given enough priority. He highlighted the shame and embarrassment associated with being targeted in a cyberattack, leading to a reluctance to discuss such incidents and making it easier for cybercriminals to continue their attacks. Levy recommended more training on recognizing phishing and spear-phishing emails, as many cyberattacks are initiated by employees clicking on malicious links in these types of emails.

The University of Winnipeg is continuing to investigate the cyberattack to determine its impact on the institution. Updates on the incident are being provided on the university’s website, and a town hall meeting will be held soon to keep stakeholders informed. The academic term has been extended due to the disruption caused by the cyberattack, and it may take months for the university to fully recover from the incident. Levy stressed the importance of thorough investigation and understanding the impact of the attack to prevent similar incidents in the future.

Overall, Levy’s comments highlight the need for proactive cybersecurity measures in public institutions like universities to protect valuable data and prevent cyberattacks. He emphasized the role of training in identifying online threats and the importance of shifting the cultural mindset to prioritize cybersecurity in technology investments. By addressing these issues and investing in robust cybersecurity measures, public institutions can reduce their vulnerability to cyberattacks and protect against potential threats in the future. It is crucial for organizations to learn from incidents like the cyberattack on the University of Winnipeg to strengthen their cybersecurity defenses and prevent similar attacks from occurring.

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