University of Sussex confirms it was victim of Blackbaud cyber-attack

The University of Sussex has confirmed it was a victim of a cyber-attack that compromised a software supplier around the world.

The University of Sussex at Falmer. Picture: Google Street View SUS-190716-164847001
The University of Sussex at Falmer. Picture: Google Street View SUS-190716-164847001

As reported in the national media, Blackbaud was held to ransom by hackers in May and paid an undisclosed ransom to cyber-criminals.

Since the breach more than 20 universities and charities in the UK, USA and Canada have confirmed they are victims.

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Blackbaud is based in the USA and provides education administration, fundraising, and financial management software.

A statement on the University of Sussex’s website said: “On Thursday, July 16, we were made aware of a security incident involving one of our third-party service providers, Blackbaud.

“The company informed us that it had discovered and stopped a ransomware attack on its systems, although some data was compromised. A number of universities using its services have been affected, including the University of Sussex.

“We have notified the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) of the incident.

“The compromised data contained biographic details (e.g. names, study, employment and contact details) and information pertaining to individuals’ relationship with Sussex, such as event participation and giving history, although not any bank account or credit card details.

“Blackbaud has confirmed that they paid a ransom to the cybercriminal and received assurances that the compromised data was destroyed and not used or sold on to third parties.

“A detailed forensic investigation was undertaken, on behalf of Blackbaud, by law enforcement and independent cybersecurity experts.

“Blackbaud has also assured us that – based on the nature of the incident, its research, and investigation – it has no reason to believe any data went beyond the cybercriminal, was or will be misused, or will be disseminated or otherwise made available publicly and that no bank account, credit card, username or password information was affected by the cyberattack.”

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