University of Manchester
Image: Damien Walmsley via Flickr

University of Manchester confirms ‘criminal entity’ stole current and former students’ data

The University of Manchester confirmed on Friday that a cyber incident reported earlier this month was a criminal attack in which data relating to current and former students was stolen.

The university, which is one of the largest in the United Kingdom by enrollment, first disclosed an incident on June 9 when it warned that hackers had accessed and “likely” copied data.

In an update, the university announced: “Based on our investigations we believe that a small proportion of data has been copied that relates to some students, and some alumni.”

The media relations team said it has “written directly to those individuals who may have been affected by this.”

The University of Manchester currently has more than 40,000 students, all of whom have been warned to be vigilant for phishing emails, as well as more than 12,000 staff.

BBC News reported that a group claiming to be behind the attack has sent threatening emails warning them their data would soon be published, although it is not known whether this was an authentic threat.

The number of staff, students and alumni affected, and the nature of the stolen data, has not been publicly confirmed.

“We understand that this will create concern for some, but we would like to assure our community that our internal and external experts are working around the clock to continue to address this and our investigations are continuing,” the statement added.

The university said it was working with several relevant authorities in the U.K. including the National Cyber Security Centre, National Crime Agency, and the Information Commissioner’s Office, as part of its response to the incident and data breach.

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Alexander Martin

Alexander Martin

is the UK Editor for Recorded Future News. He was previously a technology reporter for Sky News and is also a fellow at the European Cyber Conflict Research Initiative.