Rhysida attacks University of the West of Scotland

Incident Date:

July 25, 2023

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Rhysida attacks University of the West of Scotland


University of the West of Scotland




Glasgow, United Kingdom

, United Kingdom

First Reported

July 25, 2023

Rhysida Ransomware Gang Attacks University of the West of Scotland

The Rhysida ransomware gang has attacked the University of the West of Scotland. The University of the West of Scotland (UWS) is a reputable and well-established higher education institution in Scotland, United Kingdom. With a rich history and a strong commitment to academic excellence, the university has become a prominent choice for students pursuing various fields of study. UWS offers a wide range of undergraduate and postgraduate programs covering diverse disciplines such as business, engineering, health, social sciences, and creative industries. This comprehensive offering allows students to explore their interests and pursue their academic and career goals.

Rhysida posted UWS to its data leak site on July 25th, threatening to publish all stolen data if the organization fails to pay a 20 BTC ransom by August 1st.

Rhysida Ransomware Group Emergence

The Rhysida ransomware group emerged in May 2023 and introduced a victim support chat portal on the TOR network. They present themselves as a "cybersecurity team" and claim to be helping their victims by targeting their systems and exposing potential security issues. Rhysida deploys its ransomware through various methods, including Cobalt Strike or similar frameworks, as well as phishing campaigns. Analysis of Rhysida ransomware samples suggests that the group is still in the early stages of development. The ransomware lacks certain standard features in contemporary ransomware, such as VSS removal. However, the group follows the practices of modern multi-extortion groups by threatening to distribute the stolen data publicly.

Attack Methodology and Victim Instructions

Upon execution, Rhysida displays a cmd.exe window and scans all files on local drives. Victims are instructed to contact the attackers using the TOR-based portal and their unique identifier provided in the ransom notes. The group only accepts payment in Bitcoin (BTC) and provides victims with instructions on purchasing and using BTC through the victim portal. Victims are also given an additional form on the payment portal to provide authentication and contact details to the attackers.

The Rhysida ransom notes are written as PDF documents and placed in the affected folders on the targeted drives.

Recent Ransomware Attacks

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