University of Hertfordshire experiences cyberattack

A university in the United Kingdom has reported a networkwide cyberattack. The University of Hertfordshire, a post-1992 university originally known as Hatfield Technical College, came under attack earlier this month. While the exact cause of the cyberattack is still under investigation, the University of Hertfordshire released the following notice about the attack:

Shortly before 22:00 on Wednesday 14 April, the University experienced a cyber-attack which has impacted all of its systems, including those in the Cloud such as Canvas, MS Teams and Zoom. Please be reassured that our IT colleagues are working hard to investigate and rectify the situation as soon as possible.

Most live online teaching will resume on Monday 19 April. You can safely access Canvas, Teams and Zoom as normal. Sessions that require remote access to specialist applications may have to be rescheduled.

You can continue to attend in-person on-campus teaching but University PCs and laptops in our LRCs are currently unavailable.

Students who were due to submit assignments should not worry. As soon as our systems have been restored, Programme Leaders will be in contact to advise of your new submission dates. Students will not be disadvantaged as a result of this attack.

The University of Hertfordshire has set up a status page that shows the current state of the network and how the attack is being contained. As of this article’s writing, a good deal of the university’s services appear to be back to normal, or at least partially restored. WiFi connectivity has been restored, with some occasional service disruptions, and email servers are now functioning. However, there are still some services that are not up yet, most notably computer facilities and the Research Supervision Management System (RSMS).

As the investigation is ongoing, many questions remain unanswered. The most vital is the actual nature of the cyberattack. This has all the makings of a ransomware attack, especially considering education institutions are no stranger to such attacks. There is always a possibility that this is not the case, so needless speculation helps nothing.

Featured image: Wikimedia Commons/Naveed Qazi

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