RENFREWSHIRE Council staff and politicians have been asked to “remain cautious” of emails from the University of West of Scotland (UWS) after it suffered a “major” cyber attack earlier this month.

Police have confirmed they are still investigating, while the local authority has lifted a temporary block on the digital correspondence to and from the academic institution, which was in place to protect its own network.

The council said UWS was “no longer a threat” to other organisations after the incident and the steps it has taken as a result but told its employees if they are “suspicious” of emails to delete them and pick up the phone instead.

Patrick Welsh Murray, head of digital, transformation and customer services, said in an email: “The University of West of Scotland suffered a major cyber attack a few weeks ago and the council took the decision to block email to and from the university as a precautionary measure to protect our own network.

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“The university has established a completely new email service, ICT network and new devices in order to get basic operations back in service quickly and is no longer a threat to other organisations.

“As a result, the council has decided to remove the block on email to and from the university.

“However, we ask that staff who communicate with the university remain cautious of emails from university colleagues and should you be suspicious of any emails, please delete them immediately and instead phone your colleague to discuss the issue at hand.

“Do not click on any links that are embedded in emails without discussing it with the sender first.”

A UWS spokesperson said: “The university has experienced a cyber incident which has affected a number of digital systems.

“All appropriate steps continue to be taken to manage the situation.

“University colleagues are working closely with internal and external experts, including the relevant authorities, such as Police Scotland, the National Cyber Security Centre, the Scottish Government and the Information Commissioner.

“In consultation with this external support, we have been following a controlled process and are making good progress.”

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “Enquiries into this incident are ongoing.”