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Research Announcement:

Moody's - Cyberattacks represent growing risk for the global higher education sector

20 May 2019

New York, May 20, 2019 --

- Moody's characterizes cyber risk for the higher education system as "medium," but increasing

- Research institutions and universities with medical centers are the most vulnerable

Cyberattacks are a growing risk for higher education institutions globally, Moody's Investors Service says in a new report. Universities and colleges retain valuable information across expansive online networks and their breadth of operations can be vast, with innumerable access points, while amid constrained budgets investing in state-of-the-art defenses likely competes with myriad other priorities.

"Universities and colleges possess information such as confidential research, medical records and financial information of students, parents and donors," says Michael Osborn, a Moody's VP-Senior Analyst. "Those that undertake substantial research or that have medical centers are the most vulnerable to cyberattacks and would suffer the greatest impact from an attack that leads to data disclosure or operational disruption."

In addition, universities may consist of numerous campuses with tens of thousands of students and dispersed faculty and staff, with countless points of access leaving their online networks vulnerable to hackers, Osborn says. But at the same time budgetary restraints may limit their ability to invest in cybersecurity defenses, though such costs are only likely to grow as university networks become increasingly interconnected across borders, sectors and organizations.

While cyber risk is currently medium for the global higher education system as a whole, the risk is increasing, Moody's says. According to IBM Security, there were 101 confirmed data disclosures at US universities in 2017 compared with just 15 in 2014, an upward trend that will continue as universities and colleges expand their global presence. Nevertheless, among Moody's-rated institutions, there have to date been no attacks that resulted in credit deterioration.

Subscribers can access this report, "Higher education - Global: Cybersecurity poses a growing credit risk in higher education," at: http://www.moodys.com/researchdocumentcontentpage.aspx?docid=PBM_1140725.

NOTE TO JOURNALISTS ONLY: For more information, please call one of our global press information hotlines: New York +1-212-553-0376, London +44-20-7772-5456, Tokyo +813-5408-4110, Hong Kong +852-3758-1350, Sydney +61-2-9270-8141, Mexico City 001-888-779-5833, São Paulo 0800-891-2518, or Buenos Aires 0800-666-3506. You can also email us at mediarelations@moodys.com or visit our web site at www.moodys.com.

This publication does not announce a credit rating action. For any credit ratings referenced in this publication, please see the ratings tab on the issuer/entity page on www.moodys.com for the most updated credit rating action information and rating history.

Michael Osborn
VP-Senior Analyst
Project & Infrastructure Finance
Moody's Investors Service, Inc.
JOURNALISTS : 1 212 553 0376
Client Service : 1 212 553 1653

Susan I Fitzgerald
Associate Managing Director
Project & Infrastructure Finance
Moody's Investors Service, Inc.
JOURNALISTS : 1 212 553 0376
Client Service : 1 212 553 1653

Releasing Office :
Moody's Investors Service, Inc.
250 Greenwich Street
New York, NY 10007
U.S.A.
JOURNALISTS : 1 212 553 0376
Client Service : 1 212 553 1653

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