Universities warned to protect against cyberattacks



UK Universities have become prime targets for ransomware and malware attacks after reports that they have faced repeated attacks from hackers, with over 1,000 attempts to steal data or disrupt services during last year alone.

In an article from the BBC, it is revealed that Jisc, the organisation who provide digital solutions for UK universities and research centres, performed some tests to see how easy it was to access data. In just a matter of hours, the ‘ethical hackers’ found that they had access to sensitive, personal information of students and staff with a 100% success rate.

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), part of the GCHQ intelligence service, discovered that the majority of cyberattacks on universities were related to phishing attempts to try and gain entry for ransomware and malware.

It was found that attacks of this kind target universities at critical times of the year, such as when dissertations are due to be completed as hackers know that when people are desperate to gain access to data, they will be more likely to get a pay-out.

Most notably, in 2017 the University College London was hit by a ransomware attack which was thought to have been caused by phishing emails. It confirmed at the time that the attack had damaged files stored on shared and personal drives. Although they responded quickly, locking things down to prevent the spread of malware, the final analysis on any losses wasn’t disclosed.

As organisations come to realise that it is a case of 'when' and not 'if' an attack will happen, what can be done to assuage the risk of data loss?

At Assured DP we are already trusted by the University of Southampton and University of Derby. Powered by Rubrik’s cloud data management platform, we have already helped decrease their recovery time objective (RTO) and significantly reduce their overall total cost of ownership with the implementation of our backup and recovery solutions.

In addition to backup and DR, we have added another valuable service to our list of solutions to enable ransomware detection.

Utilising Radar from Rubrik, our Detection as a Service solution allows us to monitor customer environments to find anomalies to detect for suspicious activity. These anomalies are quickly analysed and if a malware threat is discovered we can inform you and recover your data instantly to the most recent clean snapshot, with minimal data loss.

To find about how we implement this with our customers please get in touch. We’ll be happy to show you how Rubrik works and discuss your individual needs.

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