Cybersecurity: Cybercrime Prevention in Higher Learning Institutions

Cybersecurity: Cybercrime Prevention in Higher Learning Institutions

Adel Ismail Al-Alawi, Arpita A. Mehrotra, Sara Abdulrahman Al-Bassam
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-2418-3.ch013
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The internet has revolutionized the way people communicate, how they manage their business, and even how they conduct their studies. Organizations can conduct meetings virtually and store all their data online. With this convenience, however, comes the risk of cybercrime (CC). Some of the world's most renowned organizations have found themselves having to incur huge recovery costs after falling prey to CC. Higher learning institutions' databases are increasingly falling victim to CCs, owing to the vast amounts of personal and research data they harbor. Despite this, the area of CCs in learning institutions remains understudied. This chapter seeks to identify how CC is manifested in such institutions and the specific cybersecurity measures that stakeholders could use to minimize their exposure to the same. The qualitative case study was designed to explore the research questions, and collected data through semistructured interviews. The findings showed hacking, phishing, and spoofing as the most common manifestations of cybercrime in higher learning institutions.
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The Internet is a part of daily living in the world today. Activities that traditionally required people to move physically across geographical areas are now conducted conveniently over the Internet. People can communicate easily and cheaply with relatives and friends miles away without the need to visit or travel physically. Similarly, banking activities, access to academic material, government services, and general data transfer have been made easier with the evolution of the Internet. The Internet has revolutionized the way things are done, opening up capabilities that would otherwise have never been realized. Unfortunately, these new capabilities have come at a cost; despite opening up opportunities for progress and prosperity, the Internet has brought new risks to nations, organizations, and individuals.

One of the prominent risks which are associated with Internet usage is cybercrime, namely crime executed with the help of electronic systems (Al-Alawi, 2014; Broadhurst, Grabsoky, Alazab, & Chon, 2014; Okeshola & Adeta, 2013). In order to protect themselves from cybercrime, nations, organizations, and individuals are pushed to put in place cybersecurity measures. This is mainly because, once a computer is connected to another device, it is described as “vulnerable” (Al-Alawi & Abdelgadir, 2006). Developing effective measures, however, requires a succinct understanding of the current landscape of cybercrime, including its nature, causes, and predisposing factors. This chapter focuses on cybercrime within higher learning institutions. It provides insight into the factors that predispose such institutions to cybercrime, the ways in which the same is manifested, and the measures that could be used to minimize the risk of exposure. For clarification purposes, the term “cybercrime” is integral to this text and will be taken to indicate the various efforts that institutions could use to secure their networks. Nevertheless, the precepts the authors present herein will provide guidance to policymakers in learning institutions on how to develop effective cybersecurity mechanisms to protect both data and students.

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