Ransomware attack hits University College London

Published on: 19 Jun 2017

Summary: University College London has been hit with a ransomware attack.

University College London (UCL) was last week hit by a ransomware cyber attack, highlighting the importance of institutions doing all they can to protect their digital assets.

The attack is thought to have stemmed from a "compromised" website, from where pop-ups may have helped to spread malware across the university's IT systems.

Currently, many students are revising for final exams or approaching the deadlines for their dissertations, so it is thought they could have been directly targeted by the attack, as hackers may have believed them likely to pay to gain back access to the important documents they have spent months working on.

The university managed to contain the virus to stop it spreading further and issued warnings to all staff and students to be wary of email attachments or suspicious-looking websites.

Speaking to BBC News, Graham Rymer, an ethical hacker and research associate at the University of Cambridge, explained how UCL's fast response helped to prevent the damage from worsening.

"One thing UCL did is to quickly switch all drives in the system to 'read-only' following the attack, which essentially prevented the malware from doing real damage," he stated.