Fri Apr 16 2021
The University of Hertfordshire has had to cancel all live, online teaching after falling victim to a cyberattack
Unfortunately, Hertfordshire University has become just the latest in a series of cyber-attacks on higher institutes of learning, forcing it to take make the decision to temporarily cease all online learning for their students.
These attacks have been becoming more frequent over the last few months, with Hertfordshire University revealing on Thursday that all of their IT systems, including all cloud-based applications such as Microsoft Teams, Canvas, Office 365 and Zoom, had been affected.
In a statement published on their website, University authorities said the attack started Wednesday night, just before 10pm, taking down their entire email system, Wi-Fi network and student record portal.
VPN access, data storage, Office 365, all email access, LRC services, StudyNet and the University Business systems are thought to still be offline.
The University was forced to tell students that all online teaching was cancelled last Thursday and Friday (although the limited amount of ‘in-person teaching that was taking place could continue) but were assured they wouldn’t “be disadvantaged as a result of this attack”.
Although the nature of the attack is yet to be revealed by University authorities, they’ve reassured everyone that they’re working hard to resolve the issues and return normal services soon.
They also noted they understood that this may make it more difficult for some students to prepare or submit assignments and that due to that, all deadlines would be extended in line with the length of time systems and services were down.
Making things slightly more complicated, all incomings emails have been blocked whilst a fix is put in place so students haven’t been able to reach lecturers, tutors, or any other University staff using email since Wednesday.
We are aiming to restore this as soon as we can. We want to reassure our students that no-one will be disadvantaged as a consequence of this. Our IT teams are working with the Hertfordshire Police's cybercrime unit, and there is no evidence so far to suggest that hackers were able to steal data from the targeted systems.
This attack on Hertfordshire University though is just the latest in a series of attacks targeting universities, with the educational charity Harris Federation announcing they been targeted by “a highly sophisticated ransomware attack, leaving about 37,000 students unable to access their email.”
Fri Apr 16 2021