• United States



UK Editor

University of Manchester suffers cybersecurity incident, detects unauthorised activity

Jun 09, 20232 mins
CyberattacksEducation Industry

The University of Manchester has suffered a cyber incident in which systems have been accessed by an unauthorised party who has likely stolen data.

The UK’s University of Manchester has suffered a cyber incident in which systems have been accessed by an unauthorised party, it said in a statement. It is likely that data has been copied, whilst in-house and external experts are working to resolve the incident, the University said. It has notified and is working with relevant authorities including the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), the UK National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), and the National Crime Agency (NCA).

There have been no specific details released about the type of incident at the time of writing, but the fact that the University has confirmed that systems have been accessed and that data has likely been copied, a ransomware attack may be the cause.

The current University of Manchester was formed in 2004 and is the largest single-site university in the UK. It was estimated to have more than 46,000 students last year.

University urges vigilance about suspicious phishing emails

“We know this will cause concern to members of our community and we are very sorry for this,” said Patrick Hackett, registrar, secretary, and COO, University of Manchester. “Our priority is to resolve this issue and provide information to those affected as soon as we are able to, and we are focusing all available resources. We will continue to provide updates when we have further information to share.”

Hackett called for vigilance around any suspicious phishing emails that may be received in the wake of the incident, citing NCSC guidance on how to protect against the impacts of data breaches and phishing.

Education sector a prime target for cyberattacks

The education sector is a prime target for cyberattacks globally. In January, it was revealed that more than a dozen schools in the UK suffered a cyberattack which led to highly confidential documents being leaked online by cybercriminals. Meanwhile, notorious cybercrime groups such as Vice Society have targeted US colleges and universities in recent ransomware campaigns. Meanwhile, Israel’s Technion University suffered a ransomware attack by a new group calling itself DarkBit which forced it to proactively block all communication networks. A New South Wales Audit Office report revealed the financial losses of Australian universities following cyberattacks suffered in 2022.

UK Editor

Michael Hill is the UK editor of CSO Online. He has spent the past five-plus years covering various aspects of the cybersecurity industry, with particular interest in the ever-evolving role of the human-related elements of information security. A keen storyteller with a passion for the publishing process, he enjoys working creatively to produce media that has the biggest possible impact on the audience.

More from this author