1.1 Background of the Study
With the growing advancements in information technologies, particularly for web-based applications, the internet has become a crucial component of contemporary corporate information systems. This holds true for businesses across all sectors and industries, irrespective of their specific line of work. Whether in healthcare, finance, retail, or manufacturing, each industry has discovered various means to leverage the internet to optimize their processes, enhance customer satisfaction, and strengthen their market position (Idris et al., 2017).
it is not limited to businesses alone as academic institutions, such as universities, have also realized the potential of web technologies and the internet. They are actively leveraging these tools to enhance their teaching and learning methodologies and to facilitate communication and collaboration between students and faculty members. A website is now considered a virtual classroom and office, where people with similar interests come together to share knowledge and facilitate administrative tasks (Rao and Hosein 2017). In today's world, a website serves as the public face of a tertiary institution and is the first point of contact for web visitors, be it from a national or international location, looking to learn more about an institution (Andalib and Danaee 2013).
The website has significantly reduced the gap in communication and visibility in the educational system and has brought attention to the areas where technology adoption is lagging. Developed countries' universities are already utilizing websites for various educational purposes, while developing countries' universities are making a concerted effort to catch up with this trend (Olaleye et al., 2018).
The website has made it easier for students to access learning management systems. They can now view their timetable, bus schedules, access course materials, check their grades, register for courses and exams, print materials, and access other relevant information. Teachers are also benefiting from the website as they can now teach, instruct, and evaluate student's continuous assessments and, more recently, even evaluate their thesis via the internet. The website has now become the central point of contact for all stakeholders in the university (Astani, 2013).
The university website is now being used as a tool for promotion and advertisement, allowing educational institutions to promote their activities beyond their immediate surroundings. Universities can showcase their strengths and expertise through their websites, and highlight their breakthrough research, innovation, and development to a global audience. Given the increasing popularity of tertiary institution websites in Nigeria, it is important to recognize that they are also susceptible to significant security threats due to a lack of adequate security measures, regular updates and maintenance, and insufficient funding. Therefore, the present study aims to conduct a comprehensive analysis of the critical vulnerabilities of some Nigerian university websites.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Due to the increasing reliance on technology and internet services, university websites have become a crucial tool for various academic activities such as information dissemination, student and course registration, fee payment, and more (Manzoor et al., 2012).
Unfortunately, cyberattacks have become a harsh reality of the digital world. Compromised data is becoming increasingly prevalent every day. In March 2015, roughly 17 million website users received warnings that the websites they visited were attempting to steal information or install malicious software. By the following year, that number had skyrocketed to over 50 million users (SuperUser, 2016).
University websites store a vast amount of sensitive data, including student social security numbers and valuable intellectual property. If this information is stolen or compromised, it could result in significant damage far beyond the boundaries of the institution. The risks associated with cyberattacks go beyond just financial losses for the university. Even more critical than the potential financial consequences, these attacks pose a serious threat to a university's reputation and the safety of its students (Campbell, 2023).
Universities provide hackers with an ideal environment: they contain a large amount of sensitive data, while often lacking the resources to keep up with the latest security measures. Therefore, it is essential to identify the critical vulnerabilities present on these websites to enable appropriate measures to be taken to mitigate the risks. By doing so, universities can better protect their data, reputation, and students from the harm caused by cyberattacks.
1.3 Aim of the study
The study aims to analyze the critical vulnerabilities of some Nigerian university website.
1.4 Objectives of the Study
The specific objectives of this study are as follows:
- To identify the types of vulnerabilities present on the selected Nigerian university websites.
- To assess the severity of the identified vulnerabilities.
- To analyze the potential impact of these vulnerabilities on the universities.
- To provide recommendations on how to mitigate the identified vulnerabilities.
1.5 Research Questions
- What types of vulnerabilities are present on the selected Nigerian university websites?
- How severe are the identified vulnerabilities?
- What is the potential impact of these vulnerabilities on the universities?
- What recommendations can be made to mitigate the identified vulnerabilities?
1.6 Justification of the Study
This study is important because it will provide insight into the critical vulnerabilities of Nigeria university websites and the security risks they pose. This information will help university administrators to take appropriate measures to protect their websites and sensitive information from cyberattacks. Additionally, the study will contribute to the body of knowledge on cyber security in Nigeria and highlight the need for more robust security measures in educational institutions.
1.7 Scope of the study
The scope of this study is limited to analyzing the critical vulnerabilities of some selected Nigeria university websites. The vulnerabilities will be categorized based on their severity, and recommendations for mitigation will be provided.