Higher Education Institutions are the #1 Target of Hackers Worldwide

According to a 2013 report published by FireEye.com, higher education institutions are the #1 target of hackers worldwide. Below is the top-10 list. Click here for the report in PDF format or click here for a real-time map showing current attacks.

Top Ten Vertical Targets: Worldwide

Based on the highest number of targeted operations discovered by FireEye threat prevention platforms in 2013, the top ten industry vertical targets are listed below. Each of these verticals possesses substantial intellectual property value, and often plays an important role in national security affairs.

  1. Education: universities are home to cutting-edge research and emerging technology patents; unfortunately, their networks are large and porous.
  2. Financial Services: most financial transactions today are conducted via the Internet, whether between people, businesses, or governments.
  3. High-Tech: some hardware and software are used by millions of people; they can offer attackers an exponential return on investment.
  4. Government: these bodies organize nations, determinepolicy,enforcelaw,andmanage national security affairs.
  5. Services/Consulting: large companies often have long supply chains and large contractor bases; at the political level, this includes think tanks.
  6. Energy/Utilities: in physics, energy is required for any kind of “work,” including starting engines, turning on city lights, or launching a missile.
  7. Chemicals/Manufacturing: chemistry is the study of matter, and bridges all of the natural sciences, including their relationship to energy.
  8. Telecom (Internet, Phone & Cable): this category encompasses all long-distance communications, by electrical signals or electromagnetic waves.
  9. Healthcare/Pharmaceuticals: this category encompasses the development of medications and the provision of medical care.
  10. Aerospace/Defense/Airlines: this category includes the development of spacecraft with myriad commercial and military applications.


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