The demands for information security in higher education will continue to increase. Serious data breaches have occurred already and are likely to happen again without proper risk management. This paper applies the Comprehensive Literature Review (CLR) Model
to synthesize research within cybersecurity risk by reviewing existing literature of known assets, threat events, threat actors, and vulnerabilities in higher education. The review included published studies from the last twelve years and aims to expand our understanding of cybersecurity’s critical risk areas. The primary finding was that empirical research on cybersecurity risks in higher education is scarce, and there are large gaps in the literature. Despite this issue, our analysis found a high level of agreement regarding cybersecurity issues among the reviewed sources. This paper synthesizes an overview of mission-critical assets, everyday threat events, proposes a generic threat model, and summarizes common cybersecurity vulnerabilities. This report concludes nine strategic cyber risks with descriptions of frequencies from the compiled dataset and consequence descriptions. The results will serve as input for security practitioners in higher education, and the research contains multiple paths for future work. It will serve as a starting point for security researchers in the sector.
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