Unknown Ransomware Forces UK's University of the Highlands and Islands Shut Down Campuses

Unknown Ransomware Forces UK’s University of the Highlands and Islands Shut Down Campuses

The University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) in Scotland reports “an ongoing cyber incident” that forced the university to shut down its campuses.

The educational institution has 13 locations across the northern part of the UK. 

The administration of the school warned that most services including its Brightspace virtual learning environment, were affected by a ransomware attack, according to a message to students and staff yesterday afternoon.

“The University of the Highlands and Islands partnership is experiencing an ongoing cyber incident which has caused disruption to our systems and networks across all our campuses.”

The school engaged external experts to help to contain the ransomware and says it is unlikely any personal data had leaked.

“We are currently working to isolate and minimize impact from this incident with assistance from external partners. We do not believe personal data has been affected,” said the university.

The institution doesn’t know the source of the incident.

In an email sent to students and published on UHI’s website, the University administration said that the apparent intrusion did not affect its Office 365, Cisco Webex, OneDrive, Teams, and email services. Again in the message, the administrators reiterated the school didn’t believe any personal data had leaked.

Typically, the goal of ransomware is to encrypt the victim’s data and demand a ransom in exchange for decrypting it. The criminals usually demand a large payoff in Bitcoin or similar cryptocurrency. Sometimes the criminals also steal sensitive files from the victim’s network and demand another ransom to prevent their publication.

Recently, we’ve seen an uptick in data breach incidents that have happened to insurance companies, charities, and corporate and educational bodies.

UHI had not revealed any more information about the attack by the time of publication. Some of its campuses were still closed today, as detailed on its website.

About the author

CIM Team

CIM Team

CyberIntelMag is the trusted authority in cybersecurity, comprised of leading industry experts for over 20 years, dedicated to serving cybersecurity professionals. Our goal is to provide a one-stop shop for knowledge and insight needed to navigate throughout today’s emerging cybersecurity landscape through in-depth coverage of breaking news, tutorials, product reviews, videos and industry influencers.