The University of Manchester hit with cyberattack

The University of Manchester, the UK’s third largest university, has been hit with a cyberattack resulting in attackers stealing sensitive data.

“It has been confirmed that some of our systems have been accessed by an unauthorized party, and data has likely been copied,” Patrick Hackett, the university’s registrar, secretary, and chief operating officer, said.

According to Hackett, in-house experts work hand in hand with third-party security specialists to deduce what type of data was taken from the university’s systems. The school noticed that its IT systems were penetrated earlier this week.

British law enforcement and UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) were also notified about the attack.

“We are still investigating this and working with the authorities to identify the perpetrators. We will provide all the assistance we can,” reads the university’s statement.

While the university does not specify what type of attack it suffered, cybersecurity experts in Twitter discussed this being a ransomware attack. Ransomware gangs extort data and demand payment if the victim’s want to get it back.

The University of Manchester traces its roots back to 1824 when the Royal School of Medicine and Surgery was established. Last year the organization enjoyed a budget of over $1.6 and had over 40,000 students.

While there are numerous reasons why attackers would target universities, experts point to hackers’ expectations that insurance will cover the ransom costs, not to mention the intrinsic value of intellectual and student data, which can be sold on the dark web.

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