Five tertiary education and technology organisations across the UK, US, Canada and Australia have partnered on the launch of a new cybersecurity threat intelligence sharing system to protect education institutions around the globe.
The initiative has been established in response to the concerning rise in cybercrime targeting the sector in recent months – particularly ransomware attacks. Microsoft’s global threat activity tracker, for example, has flagged more than 90m devices that have encountered a threat in the last 30 days, with education standing as the most targeted industry, accounting for more than 63% of attacks.
It is hoped that the new collaborative system will help research and education organisations prevent and mitigate damaging cyber breaches in the future.
The partnership uses MISP, the open-source threat intelligence platform used by more than 6,000 organisations internationally.
Cybercrime is not exclusive to any particular region and is a growing threat all over the world. As such, there are often similarities in the method of attacks across countries. Through MISP’s automated warning system, the partner institutions can inform each other of attacks in real-time, increasing the chances of successful intervention or prevention.
Initiated by Steve Kennett, executive director of e-infrastructure at Jisc, and delivered by his team, the partnership follows the signing of a memorandum of understanding back in April.
“The threat from cybercriminals is growing and constantly evolving and, if we are to stay ahead of the curve, we must continually update our knowledge and adopt agile response mechanisms”
Jisc is the UK’s tertiary education technology body and runs the national research and education network (NREN), Janet, which has in-built cybersecurity protection. Other founding partners of the system include:
- AARNet, Australia’s NREN
- The Canadian Shared Security Operations Centre (CanSSOC), a partnership between higher education (HE) institutions in Canada, that is working with the nation’s NREN to deliver a sector-specific curated threat feed service to eligible NREN-connected institutions
- The US HE shared cybersecurity operations centre, OmniSOC and the US Research and Education Networks Information Sharing and Analysis Center (REN-ISAC).
On the initiative’s launch, Kennett commented: “The threat from cybercriminals is growing and constantly evolving and, if we are to stay ahead of the curve, we must continually update our knowledge and adopt agile response mechanisms.
“As an automated platform, with real-time data sharing capability, MISP will help us do that.
“Jisc already works closely with other UK security agencies and its members to gather and share intelligence, which is crucial to maintaining robust cyber defences. I’m delighted that we can now help extend that benefit internationally.”