QAA Articles

Universities ‘need joint security teams to counter cyber threat’

Updated: May 17, 2020

Universities in the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium have all suffered recent attacks, prompting calls for institutions to join forces.

March 10, 2020

By David Matthews

Twitter: @DavidMJourno

Universities must create joint cybersecurity teams to protect themselves against ever more sophisticated hacking attempts, according to the vice-president of a Dutch university hit by a ransomware attack over Christmas that forced the institution to pay the equivalent of about £175,000 to criminals.

Maastricht University’s Nick Bos said one of the lessons of the attack was that it was increasingly untenable for universities to each rely on their own security systems.

On Christmas Eve last year, Maastricht raised the alarm after hackers took control of servers critical to email and the storage of research results, initially using phishing emails to break in. It took more than a month to restore all systems – and the payment of 30 bitcoin to the attackers.

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