Garry Brown, managing director of Darlington-based Bondgate IT, said: “This is a prime example of how a cyber-attack on global cloud computing provider Blackbaud, located 4,500 miles away in Colorado in the United States, can have far-reaching effects on charities and organisations operating right here in the North East.
“Blackbaud has confirmed that it was the victim of a ransomware attack, which involved hackers accessing donor data, and has said that it paid the cybercriminal’s demand.
“As a result, at least 125 charities and organisations using its services – including the University of Newcastle, the University of York, the National Trust, and Sue Ryder, have issued data breach alerts.
“This data breach would have been caused by a relatively simple phishing attack, in which an employee clicked on a rogue link, allowing a cybercriminal inside Blackbaud’s system.
“It is vital businesses and organisations in the North East and North Yorkshire take heed to address any gaps in IT security and ensure they have advanced malware protection.”