Later today Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, will alert the Cyber UK conference to news that 80 British schools and universities were hit by ransomware attacks in March, forcing them to delay reopening.
Raab will outline how hackers from hostile states and criminal gangs undermine the foundations of society and democracy, as cyberattacks pose a real risk to national and individual security. The real shock is how late the UK Government is sharing what the CyberSecurity community has known for some time.
According to the latest in-depth research from global cybersecurity giant, SonicWall, 2020 was the year when cyber risks reached an all-time high. Global ransomware attacks rose by 62%, with 304.6 million attacks worldwide.
Bill Conner, CEO of SonicWall, comments:
“That hackers are targeting universities during this especially delicate time will come as no surprise to any business leader. It is known that bad actors, nation-state backed or independent, are setting their sights on the most valuable assets they can get their hands on, whether corporate secrets or intellectual property – and they will take advantage of fraught circumstances to do so.
UK universities spearhead research critical to national interests. Hackers are vying for control over it, whether for geopolitical dominance or to use the information for their own interests. The most recent example is last summers’ attempt at stealing the coronavirus vaccine.
Students and staff need to be protected not only within the university walls, but in their homes as well. Crucial research should be granted all possible safeguards in a layered manner, and universities should take steps today to ensure they have a strong security posture to withstand hackers’ future attempts.”