UK Charity Breaches via Ransomware


In recent data breach news, UK charities are continuing being hit hard with targeted attacks as a result of the Blackbaud ransomware attack earlier this year.

In the last few weeks, Mines Advisory Group (MAG), a non-profit based in Manchester involved in clearances of landmines in war-torn countries had to inform their donors that a potential unauthorised third party may have accessed their data in what has become a long list of data breach warnings by organizations affected by the Blackbaud cyber-attack.

Personal data was compromised after Blackbaud was able to stop a ransomware attack in May 2020 in which a cybercriminal attempted to take control of their system and encrypt files.

Over 120 charities and universities were among those accessed along with MAG, with personal details such as names, addresses and contact details of people who have dealt with MAG in the past. However, no financial or bank/credit card information was accessed in the incident.

Two weeks prior another Manchester-based charity, The Christie, also had to inform supporters that they had fallen victim to the breach. The organization, which provides cancer treatments to patients of the NHS, informed their donors via email that there had been a breach and stressing that no financial information had been accessed.

In the most recent incident on August 17th, Children’s hospice charity EACH (East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices) had notified donors that they too were the victims of the Blackbaud data breach with personal information such as names, addresses, contact details and donation history stolen.

In a letter sent out to EACH donors it was explained that back-up files that stored personal details up to the beginning of 2017 had been a part of the breach.

Once again the charity was quick to stress that financial information such as bank and credit card details were not accessed within the breach.

Those companies affected have since been working with Blackbaud to determine extents of their breaches. Incidents have been reported to the Information Commissioner’s Office and everyone compromised has been informed. EACH believe that the risk of misuse of data is considered to be low.

So far, the UK Information Commissioner’s Office has received 166 individual cases tied to the initial incident and the investigation is ongoing.

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