An outage announcement was made in the UK following a cyberattack issue in the University of Sunderland that has affected its IT systems and caused it to shut down. This week of Tuesday morning, the first signs of service disruption were felt in the university’s IT systems. The impact of the attack was severe and remained unresolved.
Telephone lines, websites, email servers, Wi-Fi connection, devices access, and all online educational portals of the university had been taken down by the said attack.
According to recent updates, the attack against the university is still in the containment phase. Therefore, there is no estimated time on when the systems of the university will recover. The university’s social media channels have been updated for students to check on. Meanwhile, an alternative domain website has been announced to update all concerned students regarding the incident.
Over 20,000 students had been affected by the cyberattack against the University of Sunderland.
The university stands as a public research institute for more than 20,000 students. Some affected students are in the middle of a critical point in their studies, while some are dealing with other deadlines.
According to the university’s spokesperson, they are now working with several agencies and law enforcers to solve the cyber-attack incident. Help desks are available for students who must continue attending their face-to-face classes on the university premises. For the students studying remotely, the university officials make plans to ensure that their studies will not be disrupted. They also added that they are working hard to solve the incident as soon as possible.
The extent of the incident highlights the possibility that the cyberattack against the university is a form of ransomware attack. Ransomware attacks have been reported against different universities such as New Castle University and TU Dublin for the past year.
There are about 25% of universities in the UK have experienced a ransomware attack, according to a survey conducted in 2020. Threat actors are interested in attacking educational organisations because they obediently pay the ransom demands and recover their systems quickly.