Who would imagine that academic libraries would be targets for cybercrime? Criminals, apparently. In May 2022, the FBI warned U.S. colleges and universities that many of their network access credentials are already for sale on the criminal dark web. Even before that, the City of London Police’s Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) issued a “do not use” warning for Sci-Hub and directed university staff and students to watch for phishing emails trying to steal university login credentials. And when asked, librarians stated they were most concerned about the theft of personal data — both staff and students — as well as potential institutional reputational damage inflicted by a cyber-attack.
So the question to ask is: Just how vulnerable might your library be? And what steps can you start to take — right now — to protect it? To help scholarly librarians deal with and navigate these challenges, Springer Nature has joined together with other institutions and publishers in The Scholarly Networks Security Initiative (SSNI). The SSNI is a group of institutions, vendors, and publishers working to solve or mitigate cyber-challenges threatening the integrity of scholarly networks. And according to SNSI, all parts of the scholarly system — including libraries, as well as publishers and others — need to pay attention to cybersecurity.
To figure out how vulnerable your library might be (and what you can do to mitigate those risks), first, you have to evaluate how vulnerable your library network already is — and experts suggest that it could currently be quite vulnerable. BetaNews reported cybercriminals can penetrate 93% of company networks (betanews.com). Library networks, often with thousands of unique users, are especially vulnerable.
To help the scholarly community deal with these threats, SSNI has developed a toolbox of tips to support libraries (and others) in data security practices. We asked Stacy Best Ruel, Director Customer Development Americas at Springer Nature, to pull out the top tips for combating cybercrime that you can easily implement now.
Springer Nature is working to further open research (and help accelerate the transformation to open science) which will, naturally, reduce use of pirate sites. By growing the number and reach of institutional open access agreements, Springer Nature is steadily making more and more research open.
Springer Nature also partners with Research Gate — a reputable research social network and aggregator (see point three, above) to make even research not published open access (OA) available via the network. Perhaps just as important is making Springer Nature’s own platforms more attractive and appealing to users than the pirate sites. Springer Nature’s developers work tirelessly to improve the platforms, adding in features that you and your users have said you want.
One final note: You should keep up with colleagues and cybersecurity experts about changes and trends in the field. Criminals are always on the move — but the good people are, too. Educate yourself further by speaking with your Springer Nature representative and periodically visiting the SNSI site for updates and the latest resources.
Stacy Ruel is a strategic leader with a proven record in enhancing customer engagement and driving growth within the higher education and publishing realms. Her extensive B2B background spans institutional sales, digital marketing, and brand positioning.
Currently serving as Director of Key Accounts at Springer Nature Group, Stacy leads a team focused on optimizing customer engagement through brand leverage and audience interaction. Her accomplishments include notable revenue growth and impactful campaign execution during her tenure as Head of Marketing for Commercial Key Accounts. Stacey's career showcases her prowess in customer-centric strategies, innovative leadership, and driving results in the publishing and education sectors.
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