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Urgent warning as hackers put thousands of students’ details on dark web | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #hacker


OVER a million documents containing personal information belonging to students and staff have been uploaded to the “dark web” following a mass-scale cyberattack at a Scottish university.

Last month, the University of the West of Scotland (UWS) was allegedly targeted by hackers who accessed the information.

University of the West of Scotland suffered the data breach in JulyCredit: Alamy
Hackers have now posted over 1 million documents containing students and staff personal information to the ‘dark web’Credit: Getty

Now over 363 gigabytes of data including digital ID cards, visa applications, health records, financial details and personnel files containing allegations of bullying have been exposed online, reports the Scottish Mail on Sunday.

The newspaper claims to have seen evidence of the data breach including bank details and national insurance numbers being leaked.

Hacker gang Rhysida posted the alleged data online and demanded 20 bitcoin (£450,000) ‘ransom’ for it.

However, the files were made public after the deadline for payment to the cyber criminals expired.

The group was first discovered by cybersecurity experts in May and is said to be behind multiple attacks.

Rhydisa targets victims by posing as a cybersecurity team highlighting issues in their systems, according to cyber boffins at SentinelOne.

But security experts have claimed the high price was part of the ploy in hopes the uni will cough up the ransom cash to stop the data falling into the wrong hands.

Brett Callow, a threat analyst for cybersecurity firm Emisoft, previously told the BBC: “Realistically, the data likely doesn’t have anywhere near the value Rhysida is placing on it – at least, not to a third-party.

“They’ll be hoping the university pays up in order to prevent the information being released onto the dark web and subsequently used by other cybercriminals to commit identity fraud.”

The university has referred itself to the Information Commissioner.

Breaches in data protection by organisations can result in a huge fine from the watchdog.

A spokesperson said: “UWS said: “A forensic exercise to confirm the individuals affected is in progress.

“The university continues to work with law enforcement as the criminal investigation progresses and to liaise with the Information Commissioner.”

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “An investigation is underway following a report of a cyber incident in Paisley.

“The matter was reported to police on 3 July, 2023 and inquiries are ongoing.”

UWS is the third major institution to become a victim of a cyber-attack in recent weeks.

Read more on the Scottish Sun

The PSNI in Northern Ireland was hit with a major data breach after the names, ranks, locations and other personal information of thousands of police officers and staff was mistakenly published online.

And last week the Electoral Commission apologised for the data breach that allowed cyber-crooks to access the names and addresses of up 40 MILLION voters.

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