As a leading digital PR agency we like to practice what we preach. As such we regularly run our own online PR campaigns related to tech PR subjects that interest us, like cyber security. This campaign involved us submitting Freedom of Information requests to 134 universities in July 2020 to establish how many had been subject to ransomware attacks. Of the 105 universities that responded, 35 admitted to being attacked (33%), 25 said they hadn’t been (24%) and 43 refused to answer (45%).

With most universities reporting isolated incidents, Sheffield Hallam University and City, University of London stood out, reporting 42 attacks since 2013, and seven attacks since 2014, respectively. The following table contains the results in full. Please contact us if you’d like the data in a spreadsheet for further analysis.

 

University/QuestionHas your university been subject to any ransomware attacks in the last ten years (definition of ransomware here)?If so, when
did they take place?
Have you paid a ransom/s in return for data stolen during aforementioned ransomware
attack/s?
If you’ve paid ransom/s, then what’s the total amount you’ve paid?
Queen
Margaret University
Non/an/an/a
University of Leicester refused –
31.1.a – FOIA
refused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIA
University of EssexNon/an/an/a
Royal College of ArtDoes not
hold info
Does not hold infoDoes not hold infoDoes not hold info
Glyndŵr UniversityNon/an/an/a
Royal Academy of MusicNon/an/an/a
Manchester Metropolitan UniversityNoNoNoNo
De Montfort UniversityYes2019 & 2016No, restored all affected data via our enterprise backup
solution
n/a
University College LondonYes14th June 2017No ransom was paid.n/a
University of Bedfordshirenon/anon/a
Aberystwyth UniversityYesCant confirmnon/a
University of WolverhamptonNon/an/an/a
UALrefused –
31.1.a – FOIA
refused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIA
Oxford Brookes Universityrefused –
31.1.a – FOIA
refused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIA
University of Brightonrefused –
31.1.a – FOIA
refused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIA
The University of EdinburghNoNoNoNo
University of WinchesterYes2016Non/a
University of LondonYesJanuary 2016Non/a
University of BradfordNon/an/an/a
Barbican / Guildhall School of Music & DramaNon/an/an/a
London Business Schoolrefused –
31.1.a – FOIA
refused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIA
Queen’s University Belfastrefused –
31.1.a – FOIA
refused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIA
University of Warwickrefused –
31.1.a – FOIA
refused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIA
Teesside UniversityNon/an/an/a
Cranfield UniversityYes2016 and 2017non/a
Queen Mary University of Londonrefused –
31.1.a – FOIA
refused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIA
London South Bank UniversityNon/an/an/a
Heriot-Watt UniversityYesrefused – 35(2)(g) – FOISA sectionNon/a
Liverpool John Moores UniversityYes2017refused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIA
University of NorthamptonYes2017Non/a
University of SussexNon/an/an/a
Leeds Beckett UniversityYesSeptember 2016
February 2017
June 2017
Non/a
University of Strathclyderefused –
section 30(c) – (FOISA)
refused – section 30(c) – (FOISA)refused – section 30(c) – (FOISA)refused – section 30(c) – (FOISA)
University of Leedsrefused –
31.1.a – FOIA
refused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIA
Coventry UniversityNon/an/an/a
Northumbria Universityrefused –
31.1.a – FOIA
refused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIA
University of HuddersfieldYesJune 2018 and September 2018Non/a
Nottingham Trent UniversityYes2014Non/a
St George’s University of LondonNon/an/an/a
University of ManchesterYesNot recordedn/an/a
University of BathYesNot recordedNon/a
SOAS, University of LondonNon/an/an/a
University of CumbriaYesOctober 2015Non/a
Kingston Universityrefused –
31.1.a – FOIA
refused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIA
York St John Universityrefused –
Section 43 (2) – FOIA
refused – Section 43 (2) – FOIArefused – Section 43 (2) – FOIArefused – Section 43 (2) – FOIA
Robert Gordon UniversityYes2015 & 2016Non/a
Buckinghamshire New Universityrefused –
31.1.a – FOIA
refused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIA
Sheffield Hallam UniversityYes42 attacks since 2013Non/a
University of ReadingYesrefused – 31.1.a – FOIANoNo
Harper Adams UniversityYes2016Non/a
The Royal Veterinary CollegeNon/an/an/a
University of East Angliarefused – 12 – FOIArefused – 12 – FOIArefused – 12 – FOIArefused – 12 – FOIA
Durham Universityrefused – 12 – FOIArefused – 12 – FOIArefused – 12 – FOIArefused – 12 – FOIA
Anglia Ruskin UniversityYes2014-15Non/a
Canterbury Christ Church UniversityNon/an/an/a
University of WorcesterNon/aNon/a
University of Hertfordshirerefused –
31.1.a – FOIA
refused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIA
Edinburgh Napier Universityrefused – 35(1)(a) – FOISArefused – 35(1)(a) – FOISArefused – 35(1)(a) – FOISArefused – 35(1)(a) – FOISA
Bath Spa UniversityNon/aNon/a
University of Oxfordrefused – 31(3) – FOIArefused – 31(3) – FOIArefused – 31(3) – FOIArefused – 31(3) – FOIA
City, University of LondonYes14th April 2014
23rd June 2015
26th June 2015
19th Feb 2016
16th June 2016
1st February 2017
16th February 2017
Non/a
University of Plymouthrefused –
31.1.a – FOIA
refused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIA
Liverpool Hope UniversityYes2015Non/a
The University of SheffieldYes2015Non/a
Cardiff Universityrefused –
31.1.a – FOIA
refused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIA
Cardiff Metropolitan UniversityYesJuly 2016Non/a
Glasgow Caledonian UniversityNon/an/an/a
University of ChichesterYes2015Non/a
University of the West of Englandrefused –
31.1.a – FOIA
refused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIA
King’s College Londonrefused –
31.1.a – FOIA
refused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIA
Royal College of MusicYesMarch 2015Non/a
Imperial College Londonrefused –
31.1.a – FOIA
refused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIA
University of Cambridgerefused –
31.1.a – FOIA
refused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIA
University of West LondonYesOnce in early 2017 and twice in early 2020Non/a
Abertay UniversityNon/an/an/a
Aston Universityrefused –
section 43(2) – FOIA
refused – section 43(2) – FOIArefused – section 43(2) – FOIArefused – section 43(2) – FOIA
University of Glasgowrefused – 30 – FOISArefused – 30 – FOISArefused – 30 – FOISArefused – 30 – FOISA
Swansea Universityrefused –
31.1.a – FOIA
refused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIA
University of Nottinghamrefused –
31.1.a – FOIA
refused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIA
Goldsmiths, University of Londonrefused –
31.1.a – FOIA
refused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIA
Brunel University LondonYes2015Non/a
University of GreenwichNon/an/an/a
Birmingham City UniversityYesn/aNon/a
University of Yorkrefused – 36 (2c) – FOIArefused – 36 (2c) – FOIArefused – 36 (2c) – FOIArefused – 36 (2c) – FOIA
University of St Andrewsrefused – 18 – FOISArefused – 18 – FOISArefused – 18 – FOISArefused – 18 – FOISA
Ulster Universityrefused –
31.1.a – FOIA
refused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIA
University of Liverpoolrefused –
31.1.a – FOIA
refused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIA
University of Exeterrefused –
31.1.a – FOIA
refused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIA
University of SunderlandYes2017Non/a
Bournemouth Universityrefused –
31.1.a – FOIA
refused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIA
Newcastle Universityrefused –
31(3) – FOIA
refused – 31(3) – FOIArefused – 31(3) – FOIArefused – 31(3) – FOIA
University of South WalesNon/an/an/a
Royal Holloway, University of Londonrefused –
31.1.a – FOIA
refused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIA
Lancaster UniversityYes2013, 2015Non/a
University of Surreyrefused –
31.1.a – FOIA
refused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIA
University of DerbyYesFeb 2016Non/a
University of the West of ScotlandYes25th January 2016Non/a
University of Salfordrefused –
31.1.a – FOIA
refused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIA
University of East Londonrefused –
31.1.a – FOIA
refused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIA
University of PortsmouthNon/an/an/a
University of Stirlingrefused –
31.1.a – FOIA
refused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIA
The Open UniversityYesJanuary 9 2013 and January 1 2014Non/a
University of AberdeenInformation
not held
n/aNon/a
University of GloucestershireYes2015/16Non/a



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