Why Universities are Common Targets for Ransomware Attacks

Why Universities are Common Targets for Ransomware Attacks

Universities: Common Targets for Ransomware Attacks

Main Points:

– Universities are common targets for ransomware attacks.
– Ransomware is a type of malware that prevents access to a computer system until a for a specified amount is paid.
– Threat actors are putting pressure on universities to pay the ransom by disabling critical services and threatening to release sensitive information.

The Targeting of Universities

Universities have become a common target for cyber attackers in recent years. They have vast amounts of sensitive data such as research material, employee and student information, and financial information, which can all be valuable to hackers. Moreover, universities tend to have a large and diverse IT infrastructure with numerous endpoints and systems that make them vulnerable to attacks.

What is Ransomware?

Ransomware is a type of malware that has become increasingly popular among hackers. It encrypts the victim’s files and demands payment to regain access to them. The payment is usually demanded in cryptocurrency to maintain the anonymity of the attacker. Ransomware attacks can cause businesses, organizations, or individuals to lose access to crucial data, making recovery expensive and time-consuming.

Increasing Pressure on Universities to Pay Ransom

Threat actors deploy ransomware to universities with a twofold purpose:

– Disable critical services and systems essential to the institution’s functioning.
– Threaten the university to pay the demanded ransom by threatening to release sensitive information that can be weaponized to cause harm.

However, falling victim to ransom demands creates a difficult situation for universities. By paying the ransom, they risk funding future attacks, but not paying it puts the sensitive data of a vast range of individuals at risk.
Most universities aim to resist paying up but the cost of restoring systems, the potential loss of data, reputation damage, and legal ramifications make its deliberation a tough choice.


Ransomware attacks on universities are on the rise due to sensitive information availability and diverse IT infrastructure. Attackers disable essential services and demand ransom payments threatening to unveil sensitive information. Universities have to assess if paying the ransom is worth the risk.Original Article: https://www.infosecurity-magazine.com/news/manchester-university-victims/


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