Updated - Blackbaud Data Breach

On 16 July 2020 the University of Liverpool was notified by Blackbaud, a third-party service provider, of a data security breach, during which a number of educational institutions and charities, including the University of Liverpool, were targeted.

Blackbaud Data Breach – Updated 11 August 2020

We contacted our alumni in July 2020 to inform them about a data security breach involving Blackbaud, one of the University’s suppliers, during which data they hold on behalf of a number of universities and other organisations, including the University of Liverpool, was targeted.

Following a comprehensive investigation by the University, as part of which we have sought advice from a number of independent cyber security experts, we are updating our alumni community with further information about the increased security measures we are putting in place as a result.

We hope that this information will provide you with further assurances that we take our responsibility regarding the data security of our entire University community very seriously.


Following our investigation we are reviewing our use of links and attachments in emails in order to reduce the risk of future malware or ransomware attempts. We would ask you to remain vigilant about clicking on any links in emails and do not click on a link if you are unsure or cannot verify the source.

We have also developed a series of cyber security recommendations that we would encourage you to follow in order to minimise your potential risk. If you live outside the UK, you may wish to refer to the official guidance available where you are based.

  • Change your password. It’s good practice to change your password regularly and, as a precautionary measure, if you haven’t already we would strongly recommend changing your NetCommunity password now
  • Look at the UK Government’s National Cyber Security Centre’s ‘Cyber Aware’ page for advice about how to make a strong password, along with other useful information including how to spot a phishing email and how to shop safely online https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/cyberaware/home
  • Run anti-virus software across your devices
  • Make sure you regularly back up your data
  • Contact Action Fraud if you are concerned you have been a victim of cyber crime in England, Wales or Northern Ireland https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/
  • Check the Haveibeenpwned website to identify if an email account has been compromised in a data breach: https://haveibeenpwned.com/
  • Check your credit score if you are concerned about potentially fraudulent activity. You can access more information about credit reference agencies from the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) website here: https://ico.org.uk/your-data-matters/credit/




Notification of Breach - July 2020

On 16 July 2020 the University was contacted by Blackbaud, the third-party supplier that provides our customer relationship management system, who confirmed they had been the victim of a ransomware attack. The incident occurred between February and May 2020, during which a backup file containing personal information was obtained by the hacker.

We have been assured by Blackbaud that their security experts have fully investigated the attack and they have confirmed that no encrypted information such as personal passwords, credit card or bank account details was taken during the attack. Furthermore, their investigation concluded that the hacker has deleted the file taken during the attack and we have no reason to believe that any data was subsequently passed on by the hacker.

How has the University responded?

We have also launched our own investigation and are working with Blackbaud and other colleagues in the Higher Education sector, as well as our own Data Protection and IT teams to understand more about the breach and to take appropriate measures to increase security.

We have also informed the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

What action is needed?

As there is no financial or sensitive data involved in the incident, there is no action you need to take at this time.  However, if you do notice any suspicious activity, please notify the relevant authorities straightaway.

If you have any concerns about this incident please contact alumni.data@liverpool.ac.uk

Back to: Alumni