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Ransomware attacks three US universities

A ransomware group has successfully stricken three universities within the week. They claim that their recent attack was on June 3 against the University of California San Francisco or UCSF.

In a blog by NetWalker, a group of hackers claimed to have thieved sensitive data, including student names, social security numbers, and financial information.

The group threatened to reveal the information in less than a week if Ransome is not made in Bitcoin (BTC). The information is from institutes such as Michigan State, Columbia College of Chicago, and UCSF. According to a report, Michigan State University’s data was also stolen. The group threatens to disclose sensitive student data, as per the countdown displayed on NetWalker’s blog site.

Brett Callow, a threat analyst at malware company, Emsisoft, says that ransomware attacks in the education sector are a hugely troublesome and expensive concern. Emsisoft’s data, says that last year, nearly 89 universities, colleges, and school districts were affected by ransomware. It is suspected that about 1,233 individual schools were influenced.

UCSF also revealed that they were also targetted by scammers although they did not reveal more details about the attack. It is one of the leading universities in antibody testing and clinical trials for potential COVID-19 treatments.

Callow urges the education sector to promptly patch systems, filer emails, disable PowerShell when not required, and MFA used wherever it can be used. He adds that adopting these well-established practices can “significantly reduce the likelihood of an organization being successfully attacked.”

According to the new Verizon’s 2020 Data Breach Investigation Report, education services across the world have witnessed an increase in ransomware attacks in 2020.