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Credit: Julio Sosa

Five universities have partnered to implement greater cyber security measures at their schools.

Northwestern University, Purdue University, Indiana University, Rutgers University, and the University of Nebraska—Lincoln announced the creation of OmniSO, a cyber security operations center, on March 21. The initiative leaders aim to reduce the time it takes to resolve a threat from the first moment it is detected. Each university has an OmniSO center on campus, providing real-time monitoring and 24-hour threat-detection services.

“University campuses are really like small cities, with sensitive data and powerful computing systems that are coveted by cyber criminals,” said Tom Davis, OmniSOC founding executive director and chief information security officer.

The announcement of the center comes after a recent security breach at Penn, where approximately 9,000 students had their class enrollments, their last names, and the last four digits of their social security numbers accessed through advance registration lists. The University notified affected students about the incident on March 12 and confirmed there was an ongoing investigation. 

The University traced the security breach to an alumnus of the extracurricular group and comedy troupe Mask and Wig. Although the University removed the data, the incident left students concerned over their privacy.

“Higher education is for the most part an open environment, so we often see cyber crimes that others have not,” Greg Hedrick, chief information security officer at Purdue University, said. 

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