A Freedom of Information (FOI) request has revealed that 63% of UK universities have been the target of a ransomware attack.
The request, which was carried out by SentinelOne, also showed that half of these had experienced an attack within the last year, with one having been the victim of 21 separate attacks just in the past 12 months.
Apart from Oxford University and Kings College London, all of the universities surveyed said that they were ‘protected’ by anti-virus software. However, the number of institutions admitting to having been targets showed that this software was insufficient.
None of the respondents said they had resorted to paying the ransom, although Brunel University did admit to requesting police involvement to resolve their issue.
Jeremiah Grossman, chief of security strategy at SentinelOne, commented: “The fact that all but one of those suffering a ransomware attack had an anti-malware solution installed, confirms the abject failure of traditional solutions to protect against the new, virulent strains of ransomware.”
He added: “The fact that 65% of those universities suffering an attack were the victim of repeated attacks, where no ransom was [allegedly] paid, may prompt us to question the motives of the adversary as more than purely financial.”