Cyber Threats: Top Hackers threatening Higher Education Institutions right now!

Kudakwashe Charandura
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According to research by Surfshark, South Africa is among the top 10 countries that experienced the most cybercrime in 2021. Most Colleges and Universities, such as the University of Mpumalanga being hacked on its bank accounts, have fallen into hackers' playgrounds because of their outdated systems, lack of cyber awareness among students and education staff, high volume of confidential info, plus more vulnerable reasons.
In this article

Who are these gold miners, and what do they have to gain?


  • Overzealous students who want to experiment with IT systems - hacking for fun. Students hack systems to manipulate exam results or access examination questions before the exam.


  • Hacking activists break into systems for political, social or religious reasons, mainly to propagate their messages or to expose believed injustices. They see Education as a ripe target as they can reach a broad audience of staff, students and parents.

Phisher man 

  • Phishing is a cyber-attack where an attacker sends a fraudulent (e.g., spoofed, fake, or otherwise deceptive) message/email to trick a person into installing malicious software on the victim's infrastructure. 
  • Lack of cyber awareness in Education institutions has seen a rise in these attacks, and according to Symantec research, in 2020, 1 in every 4,200 emails was a phishing email.

So how can you look out for your campus operations?

  1. Start with a Cyber Security framework that will serve as security templates to ensure secure, consistent and standardised configurations.
  2. Software Upgrades will help evaluate all unsupported software (i.e. Windows operating systems, end-user applications, databases, etc.) The software upgrade roadmap will assist the University/College's IT management with rolling out the necessary upgrades.
  3. Institutions must require students and employees to undergo training covering what phishing is and how to recognise it. SNG Grant Thornton has a range of Cyber solutions to prepare faculties and staff for cyber threats, ensure ongoing protection and drive change to improve their cybersecurity capability

Contact our Head of Cyber Advisory, and we will help you stay ahead of Cyber attacks.