The University Grants Commission (UGC) has asked all higher educational institutions to create a cyber security ecosystem on campuses but colleges in Mumbai say they are inadequate to do so.
UGC instructed all higher educational institutes to prepare a calendar of events and organize awareness campaigns, competitions, hackathons and workshops on cyber security on campuses to help students deal with new-age crimes.
On the condition of anonymity the principal of a suburban college said “Most colleges are not aware of what constitutes cybercrime. Especially, now that classes and assessments are being held online, the line between what is official and unofficial communication is blurring,”.
Previous year when colleges were forced to switch to online education following the Covid-19 pandemic, St Xavier’s College in Dhobi Talao, put up ‘netiquettes’ for online education.
The UGC, in its announcement last year, said, “Cybercrime is a complex environment consisting of interactions between people, software and services, supported by Information Communication Technology devices and networks. It is vulnerable to a wide variety of incidents, whether intentional or accidental, manmade or natural… it has been decided that cyber security awareness should start at school level… all higher educational institutes are requested to take appropriate action on the implementation of the cyber security awareness.”
UGC’s instructions come in the wake of a spate of cyberattacks on the websites of educational institutes.
Check Point Research is an organization that publishes reports on cyberattacks, released a report in August showing that India topped the number of cyberattacks in the education sector. Organizations in the education sector in South Asia recorded the highest number of attacks and India was the most targeted country in the sector, followed by Italy, Israel, Australia and Turkey.
Colleges, however, said that the university administration had not yet asked them to conduct awareness programmers or competitions.
A principal of other college “If UGC says we need to have an ecosystem in place, what does it mean? What kind of infrastructure is required? Do we need to have resource persons in place?”.
Ravindra Kulkarni, pro vice chancellor, MU, did not respond to calls or messages despite repeated attempts.