On Wednesday 14th April, the University of Hertfordshire was hit by a cyber attack that has taken down its entire IT network and has also blocked access to cloud-based services.
With all its systems affected by the attack, the university halted its online teaching on both Thursday and Friday, and said other classes may go ahead, but “students will have no on-site or remote access to computer facilities in the LRCs (learning resources centres), labs or the university wi-fi”
Since late February 2021, an increased number of ransomware attacks have affected education establishments in the UK, including schools, colleges and universities. Advice to help these institutions counter a rise in cyber attacks has been provided by the NCSC.
The NCSC urges all organisations to follow our guidance on ‘Mitigating malware and ransomware.’ This details a number of steps organisations can take to disrupt ransomware attack vectors and enable effective recovery from ransomware attacks. Furthermore, The NCSC has produced a number of practical resources to help schools and other educational institutions improve their cyber security.
An Ivy League private research University in the USA, Brown University, takes steps to disable systems and cut connections to the data center after a cyber attack on the 30th March, 2021.
IT staff at the University said the attack focused on the university’s Windows-based devices and asked faculty and staff to switch to computers running other operating systems, smartphones, or tablets.
Whilst there were no details shared regarding the nature of the incident, Brown’s CIO added that “employees can contact their IT Support Consultant (ITSC) or Departmental Computing Coordinator (DCC) to determine if their Windows machine has ‘known-clean’ status,” hinting at a malware attack.
Further information about the attack can be found here:
The National Cyber Security Center recently issued an alert about a spike in so-called ransomware attacks affecting schools. Since that alert on the 23rd March 2021, the Harris Federation (one of the largest trusts in London) consisting of primary, secondary, and sixth form academies has suffered a ransomware attack. This cyberattack has shut down the IT systems, mail servers and telephone lines at primary and secondary academies in London.