Ransomware Hits UK Hard

2016 has seen organisations throughout the UK repeatedly hit by ransomware attacks.

According to information released by UK Freedom of Information requests, public institutions such as universities and NHS trusts have fallen victim to the form of cyber-attack on a regular basis.

Cybersecurity company SentinelOne reached out to 71 universities across the UK; 58 replied, and 23 of these reported they had been hit by ransomware attacks in the past 12 months.

None of the victim universities had actually paid the ransoms, but only one had reported the attack to the police. According to SentinelOne, the largest ransom demanded was five bitcoins – equivalent to £2,200.Bournemouth University said it had been hit 21 times this year, despite having a cybersecurity centre on campus.

A representative from Bournemouth University said: “It is not uncommon for universities to be the target of cybersecurity attacks; there are security processes in place at Bournemouth University to deal with these types of incident.”

The spokesperson also said that the ransomware attack had made “no impact” on the university’s operations.

28 NHS trusts claim to have been affected by attacks in the same period.

Ransomware is a form of malware that encrypts computer files and then demands ransom – usually payable in Bitcoin currency – for their release.

Most commonly, ransomware travels via email or hides in downloads and programs from sources that have been corrupted.

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