Why Cody decided to hack educational institutions

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    Cody is a hypothetical cybercriminal who likes earning a quick buck with large payoffs. In order to do that he decided to go in a certain direction that allows him to maximize profits and minimalize risk. Cody is a genius (part of the job description), he chooses to go after educational institutions, for reasons that are secrets to none.

    Students and their clean slate: Students are an easy mark, because there is vast amount of data regarding their credit card information used at the institution. The best part is that they have clean credit which is a gold mine for people like Cody. Cody also notices that students are unlikely to check their credit report during study years so he can take much water from that well and for years before they notice.

    Renewable resources: Solar, wind and now students; Cody likes renewable resources, he’s a thief but he still cares about the planet and doesn’t like to deplete certain resources. Lucky for him there are freshmen every year; out with the old students, in with the new faces. Most of them are unfamiliar to online privacy and easily fall prey to Cody.

    An educational beehive: Network use is extremely high in educational institutions; most of the WIFI routers have their default passwords and get many daily visitors from frequent laptops and phones; Jessica might care about her art history project but she sure doesn’t care about her laptop’s firewalls.

    The value of information: Credit card information is one thing, but data like phone numbers, names, addresses, and emails are also very valuable. Cody can use them in cooperation with neighborhood thieves and extortionists, or he can just sell immense amounts of data on the dark web; either way he’s a team player. Some projects are actually classified and may involve the government since they work co-op to establish their goals; Cody just needs to find the highest bidder.

    Trimming the budget: Cybersecurity may be strong at a police precinct or a military base, but an educational institution wants to trim the budget and allocate money to certain projects, labs and sports. So, it comes as no surprise that they would cheap out on cybersecurity and practically invite people like Cody to hack them.

    Why should educational institutions keep updating their software security? Although a one-time investment in cybersecurity is a good one, it’s only a step back of an inevitable delay of breach by Cody. While the faculty’s staff have their guard down, the dark web and hackers’ community are figuratively doing pushups and training to increase their hacking techniques. A smart criminal robs with a computer, not a gun.

    Google pays hackers to breach it so that they make their data airtight safe, and even then, hackers keep finding new ways each year and Google keeps paying them to adjust their cybersecurity accordingly. Educational institutions should do the same, in order to avoid lawsuits and a bad reputation; nothing drives students (and their parents) away like fear.

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