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Working together to strengthen cybersecurity in university libraries

Working together to strengthen cybersecurity in university libraries

Presented at THETA 2019 (The Higher Education Technology Agenda), Wollongong, 20 May 2019.

University libraries are increasingly exposed to cybersecurity threats, with prominent recent examples including:

- a 3-day distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack on the Library of Congress
- ransomware attacks on PCs in US public libraries, and
- the Silent Librarian phishing campaign, which affected 26 Australian universities. Researchers mistakenly believed their library accounts would be closed and provided log-in credentials enabling the the of research.

As few librarians are trained in key aspects of cybersecurity there is an urgent need for greater collaboration with cybersecurity professionals to accurately identify and effectively mitigate risks. Griffith University’s Library Technology Services manages a portfolio of so ware applications, most of which are cloud-hosted. Applications and integrations are under increased scrutiny and we now engage more with staff from Cyber Security Services in Digital Solutions, particularly when we evaluate new applications or perform major upgrades.

Cyber Security Services offers support across three main categories: process, technology, and people. In this presentation I discussed both technical and non- technical actions being taken to uplift the Library’s overall cybersecurity maturity. This included increased focus on the security architecture of software applications, demanding more mature cybersecurity approaches from our vendors and service providers, regularly reviewing processes for protecting log-in credentials, and addressing staff information and training needs.

While this work is essential it is also challenging, in terms of project budgets and timelines, stakeholder perceptions, and the allocation of staff resources. I discussed how library and cybersecurity professionals can work together to build capability, both at the level of individual institutions and across the sector.

Sam Searle

May 20, 2019

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    tests Password / account management Company ratings Process Data classification Product / vendor assessments Early adopters
  4. Wood, Phillip. 2014. “Walls of Straw – the Cyber Risks

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  5. Compare Australian Library and Information Association Core Values Statement with

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  6. Costa, Arthur L., and Bena Kallick. 1993. “Through the Lens

    of a Critical Friend.” Educational Leadership 51(2): 49–51. A critical friend…is a trusted person who asks provocative questions, provides data to be examined through another lens, and offers critique of a person's work as a friend. A critical friend takes the time to fully understand the context of the work presented and the outcomes that the person or group is working toward. The friend is an advocate for the success of that work.
  7. Thanks to: • Tim Lane, IT Security Projects Manager, Griffith

    University and Chair, CAUDIT Cybersecurity Community of Practice • My Library Technology Services team Get in touch: Sam Searle Manager, Library Technology Services [email protected] https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0619-5756 LinkedIn | Twitter