Lancaster University hit by ‘sophisticated and malicious’ cyber attack

Hackers have stolen confidential data on hundreds of students in a cyber attack at Lancaster University.

Lancaster University chiefs described the incident as a ‘sophisticated and malicious phishing attack’.

They reported the incident as soon as they became aware of a breach last Friday.

As a result, the cyber attack is being investigated by police and the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), the UK data protection regulator.

The stolen data includes names, addresses, phone numbers and emails from students who applied to join the university in 2019 and 2020.

In a statement, the university revealed that hackers then used the information to send fake invoices to applicants.

“We are aware that fraudulent invoices are being sent to some undergraduate applicants,” it said.

“At the present time, we know of a very small number of students who have had their record and ID documents accessed.”

Phishing is a type of cyber attack that involves attempts by internet fraudsters to access and obtain personal and sensitive information. Such breaches have affected education institutions in the United States in recently.

Staff and students at Monroe College were locked out of their website and learning management system following a cyber attack last week.

At the time, hackers demanded payment of around $2m in Bitcoin to restore access.

However it is still not known whether the college paid the ransom.

Major corporations are also not immune to this trend of cyber attacks.

A string of high-profile cases have resulted in mammoth fines for the likes of British Airways and Marriott.

The airline and hotel chain were told to pay out £183m and £99m respectively earlier this month.

This was after the ICO ruled that both organisations could have done more to keep their IT systems secure.

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