Universities targeted by ransomware

University College London, one of the UK leading higher education institutions, was hit by a ransomware which took down its shared documents and student management system, and captured personal data and records of students. According to The Guardian, the malware was not picked by the antivirus software, and it is possible that it exploited another “zero day” vulnerability not known before – more so because the attack occurred on the same day when Microsoft released a security update for Windows XP and Vista and a warning of possible attacks similar to WannaCry in future. Security experts confirm universities have become targets of ransomware campaigns, and emphasise that the open culture of educational institutions and complex systems that allow connectivity to services from multiple students’ mobile devices makes it easier for a phishing scam to activate malware.