The Royal Institute of British Architects’ (RIBA) members database was hacked at the weekend, causing the institute to close access to the members area, which remains shut. Around 1,200 other organizations in the US and UK have also been attacked in a similar way, but neither the RIBA nor other organizations contacted have yet found any evidence of fraudulent activity or attempts to extract information from the databases.
The attackers planted a web address on the databases. The source has been traced to an organization in China known for its large scale spamming. The purpose is unclear at this point but it seems the idea was to capture email addresses. Technical staff at the institute spotted the problem and closed access to the database as a precaution.
RIBA sent an email on Thursday warning its 40,000 members to keep an eye on bank accounts and credit card statements that may have been used for payments to RIBA. However, it assured them there is no evidence that any information was stolen. It has also reported the incident to the Metropolitan Police.
The institute refused to comment on whether the database was encrypted or password protected. RIBA are “taking urgent action to upgrade the protection of their systems against this latest type of threat”.
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