Universities have been on lockdown through the holiday break, and now it’s time for students to return to the classroom. With the return of students come sneaky ways hackers can bypass security.
Here are a few tips to keep them out:
- Frequently reset eKey access and assign new codes to students and staff accessing smart door locks in classrooms and dormitories. Changing codes once per semester is not often enough – but it’s better than only changing them on an annual basis (or never).
- Remind students to change their campus internet passwords frequently – and mandate frequent changes for your staff and instructors. Also, if any IoT devices use passwords for management, IMMEDIATELY change the passwords to something secure upon installing the device! (A few radio stations were briefly taken over by hackers in 2015 simply because equipment passwords hadn’t been changed from the default “password.”}
- Manage IoT devices and their networks separate from enterprise campus networks, such as those used for student financial records, payroll, and inter/intra-campus communications. Student-accessible systems and smartphone technologies are particularly vulnerable.
- Take advantage of unused existing fiber installed around the campus with the addition of wavelength division multiplexers such as the FiberPlex WDM16. Interconnecting critical, sensitive systems between campus locations is almost always best done over fiber, which provides a secure connection because it doesn’t “leak” data and is nearly impossible to hack. These units multiplex onto existing fiber cable additional data feeds so there’s no need to add more fiber optic lines. No trenching, no major construction needed to augment already-in-place fiber optics. WDM16 interfaces are available for ethernet, audio, video, data and telecom connections.
- Consider connecting VoIP phone lines via fiber to other parts of the campus (or even remote campuses). Distance learning and campus video productions are also good candidates for fiber transmission – audio and video are easily connected via coaxial optical interface modules, and full-fidelity two-way transmission is ensured – again, with no connection to the cloud required.