University College London Targeted by Ransomware Hackers | Top Universities

University College London Targeted by Ransomware Hackers

By Craig O

Updated April 16, 2021 Updated April 16, 2021

University College London has been the target of a “major” ransomware attack, similar in nature to the one which recently crippled computer systems in the UK National Health Service.

The university has reassured students that the situation is under control, having isolated the infection and limited its spread to just 12 users.

Email systems have been turned off as a temporary measure and students are only able to access work on two shared computer drives in read-only mode. However, normal service is expected to resume imminently.

The problem was initially reported at 5pm on Wednesday, and a similar attack was experienced at Ulster University in Northern Ireland. That, too, is now under control.

A spokesperson for UCL said: “Our hypothesis is that the infection started as a result of UCL users visiting a website that had been compromised. Clicking on a pop-up or even just visiting a compromised site may have then introduced the malware to their device. The website could be one that they use regularly.”

Both UCL and Ulster University were able to limit the impact of the hack as their antivirus software was up to date. This is in contrast to the NHS attack, where many of their computer systems had not been properly updated or maintained for years.

This week, it was reported hackers in North Korea were behind the attack on the NHS.

Have you been affected by the hack? Let us know in the comments below.

This article was originally published in June 2017 . It was last updated in April 2021

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Written by

As Head of Content, Craig is responsible for all articles and guides published across TopUniversities and TopMBA. He has nearly 10 years of experience writing for a student audience and extensive knowledge of universities and study programs around the world.

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