THE boss of Oxford University’s IT services says she ‘constantly’ worries about the threat of cyber attacks.

Professor Anne Trefethen, pro vice chancellor for gardens, libraries and museums, said the so-called ‘ransomware’ attack on the NHS last week was just one example of the threats public institutions faced on a daily basis.

Hackers gained access to health service computers after staff opened malicious code – known as malware – that appeared in emails as attachments or web addresses.

This caused the malware to lock NHS workers out of their computers, with the hackers demanding a ransom for unlocking them.

Prof Trefethen said those types of attacks were impossible to prevent, even with the best precautions, if staff had not been trained to spot suspicious emails.

She added yesterday: “I do worry about this constantly. We have invested a lot at the university in infrastructure and to develop a central team to deal with these issues, but really the most important thing is to engage with people and help them understand how these things work.

“You cannot stop those attacks from happening – you have just got to be as prepared as possible.”