Students, beware – universities and colleges are now the targets of data breaches.

In a recent article by, Harvard University is revealed to have been hacked earlier last month, a breach affecting many of its departments and causing concern for sensitive data such as login credentials.

According to the article, 30 colleges and universities last year suffered breaches, some very extreme.

So what is the deal with these hacks on higher education?

The treasure trove of data makes these institutions very appealing. Information of students, faculty, staff, as well as associated families are stored in the systems at these colleges. Financial information, payment information, and bank account information for these people is housed in these systems as well.

For Harvard, who has been hacked before in the past, dealing with cybercrime like this is a result of their appealing nature. Wealthy students, rich benefactors, and students who become CEOs, presidents, and other decision makers. Sensitive information that was accessed in the breach may be extremely useful to fraudsters.

So what can we do?

Institutions like Harvard, as well as large corporations like Target and Sony (who have also been hacked and in the spotlight for data breaches) realize their appeal and strive to make improvements in IT security. For businesses, the best method of protecting one’s assets is to stay PCI-DSS compliant and work constantly to stay on top of data protection improvements in the future.