Rise in Ransomware Attacks on North West Academic Sector

There was a notable rise in ransomware attacks against UK schools, colleges and universities during August, as cyber criminals turned their attention to a sector which was focused on the return of students for the new academic year.

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has issued an alert to the sector containing several steps they can take to keep cybercriminals out of their networks, following the recent spike in ransomware attacks.

Institutions that have been infected with ransomware have seen their ability to operate effectively and deliver services significantly obstructed and, depending on an organisation’s level of resilience, it can take weeks – and in some cases months - for services to return to normal.

saasageEarlier this year the Cyber Resilience Centre (CRC) was contacted by Myerscough College after first contacting Lancashire Police to report the crime when they found themselves dealing with a targeted ransomware attack.

“Myerscough are thankful for the help of the Cyber Resilience Centre and SaaSAge who have worked with us to get our systems back online following this targeted ransomware attack. After dealing with this ransomware attack, we feel the college and our staff are now better educated and equipped with the tools to deal with any future cyber-attack.” - Ian Brown, Director of IT & MIS @ Myerscough College

The CRC helped to quickly connect Myerscough College with our Trusted Supplier SaaSAge who have assisted the college in recovering data and getting systems back online following the ransomware attack.

“Myerscough College is just one of several local education establishments which have been targeted in recent months. The Cyber Resilience Centre was happy to work with them and put them in touch with SaaSAge who implemented their Business Continuity Team to work with the college to restore their systems and put measures in place for the college to be better prepared for any future similar attack.

It should be noted that Myerscough College took the appropriate steps in reporting this crime to Lancashire Police. If your business is faced with a ransomware demand, do not pay the ransom funds and report the attack. ” - Detective Superintendent Neil Jones, Director of the Cyber Resilience Center for Greater Manchester

The CRC’s advice is to never pay the ransom demands of any attack. We encourage victims to first report the incident to Action Fraud, then reach out to us here at the Cyber Resilience Centre and we can help you take the next steps. We have the expertise and partners who can educate, help and guide you on the best path to defend your business against cyberattacks.