SentinelOne has released a report stating that six out of ten UK universities have been infiltrated by ransomware. The data has been collected from Freedom of Information (FOI) requests that the company has issued.
UK Universities plagued by ransomware
According to SentinelOne’s report 63% or six out of ten UK universities have admitted infections by ransomware. Most of the infiltrations (58%) have occurred in the past year. The collected data shows that none of the institutions have paid the ransom requested by the criminals. The issued information states that the IT staff has managed to amend the issues by using their means. Unfortunately, no further details are available.
An interesting fact is that 65% of all targets report that multiple attempts have been launched against them. A notable example is The Bournemouth University reports 21 ransomware infections for 2015 alone. Only four universities revealed the amount of the requested ransom. The Bournemouth University has been asked for 100 dollars, The University of Bath have received a request for 2 Bitcoin (the equivalent of 1315 dollars), Brunel University and Bath Spa University were pressured into paying 5 Bitcoin which is about 3288 dollars.
A majority of ransomware developers are now targeting education institutions and large corporations with the intent of infiltrating their networks. The malicious programmers utilize different tactics ranging from massive spam campaigns to security exploits. Upon successful intrusion, the ransomware can cause devastating damage to the exposed files. As academic networks often contain valuable research, student data, and other important information, the ransomware developers can ask for a higher ransom fee.
This is one of the reasons why universities must make regular backups and store them in safe environments. An interesting fact reveals that both Oxford University and Kings College London do not install anti virus software on their computers.