Education and Academia


  • Ransomware gang leaks data stolen from Colorado, Miami universities

    March 23, 2021

    Grades and social security numbers for students at the University of Colorado and University of Miami patient data have been posted online by the Clop ransomware group. Starting in December, threat actors affiliated with the Clop ransomware operation began targeting Accellion FTA servers and stealing the data stored on them. Companies use these servers to share ...

  • UK colleges and unis urged to prepare for ransomware before it’s too late

    March 23, 2021

    Britain’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has urged universities, schools, and colleges to be vigilant following an increase in ransomware attacks targeting educational institutions. “While operational details cannot be disclosed, the NCSC has dealt with a significant increase in the number of attacks since late February, when establishments were preparing to welcome students back to the ...

  • Oxford University lab with COVID-19 research links targeted by hackers

    February 26, 2021

    An Oxford University lab conducting research into the coronavirus pandemic has been compromised by cyberattackers. Oxford University, one of the most prominent educational institutions in the UK, was made aware of the security breach on Thursday. The university confirmed that a security incident took place at the Division of Structural Biology lab, also known as “Strubi,” after ...

  • Lakehead University shuts down campus network after cyberattack

    February 21, 2021

    Canadian undergraduate research university Lakehead has been dealing with a cyberattack that forced the institution earlier this week to cut off access to its servers. The school’s services, including its website, have been down since Tuesday, with personnel shutting down computers on the Thunder Bay and Orillia campuses to stop the attack from spreading. In a communication ...

  • Malware found on laptops given out by UK government

    January 23, 2021

    Some of the laptops given out in England to support vulnerable children home-schooling during lockdown contain malware, BBC News has learned. Teachers shared details on an online forum about suspicious files found on devices sent to a Bradford school. The malware, which they said appeared to be contacting Russian servers, is believed to have been found on ...

  • CISA and FBI warn of rise in ransomware attacks targeting K-12 schools

    December 11, 2020

    In a joint security alert published on Thursday, the US Cybersecurity Infrastructure and Security Agency, along with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, warned about increased cyber-attacks targeting the US K-12 educational sector, often leading to ransomware attacks, the theft of data, and the disruption of distance learning services. “As of December 2020, the FBI, CISA, and ...

  • K12 online schooling giant pays Ryuk ransomware to stop data leak

    December 2, 2020

    Online education giant K12 Inc. has paid a ransom after their systems were hit by Ryuk ransomware in the middle of November. K12 creates tailored online learning curriculums for students to learn from home while in kindergarten through 12th grade. Over 1 million students have utilized K12 to learn from home rather than in traditional public ...

  • Digitally Signed Bandook Trojan Reemerges in Global Spy Campaign

    November 30, 2020

    A wave of targeted cyberattack campaigns bent on espionage is cresting around the globe, using a strain of a 13-year old backdoor trojan named Bandook. According to Check Point Research, Bandook was last spotted being used in 2015 and 2017/2018, in the “Operation Manul” and “Dark Caracal” campaigns, respectively. The malware then all but disappeared from ...

  • This new cyberattack can dupe DNA scientists into creating dangerous viruses and toxins

    November 30, 2020

    A new form of cyberattack has been developed which highlights the potential future ramifications of digital assaults against the biological research sector. On Monday, academics from the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev described how “unwitting” biologists and scientists could become victims of cyberattacks designed to take biological warfare to another level. At a time where scientists worldwide ...

  • Baltimore County Public Schools hit by ransomware attack

    November 25, 2020

    Baltimore County Public Schools has been hit today by a ransomware attack that led to a systemic shutdown of its network due to the number of systems impacted in the attack. The Baltimore County school district manages all public schools in Baltimore County, Maryland, and is the 25th largest U.S. school system. Read more… Source: Bleeping Computer  

  • When Threat Actors Fly Under the Radar: Vatet, PyXie and Defray777

    November 6, 2020

    As security practitioners, Palo Alto Unit 42 researchers spend a lot of time focusing on the threat actors and malware families that leverage the most impactful exploits or affect the highest number of victims. But what happens when a threat actor goes “low and slow” to fly under the radar? One could argue that, in ...

  • Massachusetts school district shut down by ransomware attack

    October 8, 2020

    The Springfield Public Schools district in Massachusetts has become the victim of a ransomware attack that has caused the closure of schools while they investigate the cyberattack. Springfield is the third largest school district in Massachusetts with over 25,000 students, 4,500 employees, and more than sixty schools. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the school district opened ...

  • Alert issued to UK universities and colleges about spike in cyber attacks

    September 17, 2020

    British universities and colleges have been warned about a spike in ransomware attacks targeting the education sector by the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), a part of GCHQ. Academic institutions are being urged to follow NCSC guidance following a sharp increase in attacks which have left some teachers fearing they won’t be able to accept ...

  • Surge in DDoS attacks targeting education and academic sector

    September 15, 2020

    As education institutions across the world moved to online learning, cyber threat disruptions have amplified more than ever. Malware, vulnerability exploits, distributed denial-of-service (DDoS), phishing attacks have all struck this sector, increasing in frequency over the past two months. As schools in the U.S. restarted in remote learning mode, cybersecurity companies noticed a surge in DDoS ...

  • Fairfax County schools hit by Maze ransomware, student data leaked

    September 12, 2020

    Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS), the 10th largest school division in the US, was recently hit by ransomware according to an official statement published on Friday evening. The school district is also the largest in the Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan Area and it has a budget of $3.1 billion approved for 2021. FCPS has over 188,000 current students and ...

  • City of Hartford postpones first day of school after ransomware attack

    September 8, 2020

    Officials from the city of Hartford, Connecticut, were forced to postpone the first day of the new school calendar year after a ransomware infection impacted the city’s IT network. According to a statement published by Hartford Public Schools, the school district serving the city of Hartford, the ransomware attack impacted several of the school’s internal IT ...

  • Newcastle University students’ data held to ransom by cyber criminals

    September 8, 2020

    Newcastle University is being held to ransom by cyber criminals in an attack which has been disrupting IT systems since the beginning of the month. The cyber crime group behind the attack – known as DoppelPaymer – previously leaked documents online relating to Elon Musk’s companies SpaceX and Tesla. The criminals have posted stolen files from the ...

  • Digital Education: The cyberrisks of the online classroom

    September 4, 2020

    This past spring, as the COVID-19 pandemic took hold, online learning became the new norm as universities and classrooms around the world were forced to close their doors. By April 29, 2020, more than 1.2 billion children across 186 countries were impacted by school closures. Shortly after schools began to transition to emergency remote learning, it ...

  • DarkSide: New targeted ransomware demands million dollar ransoms

    August 21, 2020

    A new ransomware operation named DarkSide began attacking organizations earlier this month with customized attacks that have already earned them million-dollar payouts. Starting around August 10th, 2020, the new ransomware operation began performing targeted attacks against numerous companies. In a “press release” issued by the threat actors, they claim to be former affiliates who had made millions ...

  • New FritzFrog P2P botnet has breached at least 500 enterprise, government servers

    August 19, 2020

    A P2P botnet newly-discovered by researchers has struck at least 500 government and enterprise SSH servers over 2020. On Wednesday, cybersecurity firm Guardicore Labs published research into FritzFrog, a peer-to-peer (P2P) botnet that has been detected by the company’s sensors since January this year. According to researcher Ophir Harpaz, FritzFrog has attempted to brute-force SSH servers belonging ...