University of North Florida Foundation targeted by ransomware attack; donor data exposed

A Welsh university has confirmed it was one of more than 20 institutions in the UK, US and Canada that has been affected after hackers attacked a cloud computing provider.

Some universities, such as Loughborough, only saw alumni data stolen. However, in few of the cases, the threat was extended to staff, existing students and other supporters. This included names, addresses, email addresses and telephone numbers.

Blackbaud will have to participate in investigations for the United Kingdom and Canada data authorities as the concernned authorities were informed last weekend, which is weeks after the company noticed the breach in the systems.

'Blackbaud have informed us that, to the best of their knowledge, all of the details that were accessed have now been destroyed and there is currently no evidence of the data being used. We are urgently investigating this incident and are awaiting further details from Blackbaud.

Mr Sparkes added that while the risk appears to be very low, supporters should be wary of unknown phone calls or potential email scams.

The US-based company has been criticised for not disclosing the hacking of their systems externally until July and for having paid the hackers an undisclosed ransom. The company asserts that no credit card, bank account, or social security information was stolen by the hackers.

Nearly 10 universities in the United Kingdom, the United States of America and Canada have been hit by a malware in their cloud computing provider, Blackbaud.

Some affected institutions, including the University of London, University of York, Oxford Brookes and Ambrose University have written to their former students, faculty and donors about the security incident warning them that their data may have been compromised in the breach.

The Rhode Island School of Design in the U.S., the Ambrose University in Alberta Canada as well as the Human Rights Watch and charity Young Minds also fell victim.

"In May of 2020, we discovered and stopped a ransomware attack".

Blackbaud pays the ransomware Before the hackers got locked out, the attackers were able to remove "a copy of a subset of data". Doing so is not illegal, but goes against the advice of numerous law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, NCA and Europol.

The message details that UNFF was notified on July 16 by its third-party service provider, Blackbaud, about an attack on its Raiser's Edge database - the database that stores alumni and donor data.

The hack has reportedly affected universities, non-profit organisations, and foundations.

"Because protecting our customers" data is our top priority, we paid the cybercriminal's demand with confirmation that the copy they removed had been destroyed'.