Lakehead, a Canadian undergraduate research university, has been grappling with a cyberattack that caused the organization to shut off connections to its computers earlier this week.
Since Tuesday, the school’s facilities, including its website, have been offline, with workers closing down servers on the campuses of Thunder Bay and Orillia to avoid the attack from spreading.
Services that are already down
Lakehead University offered some information about the attack in a statement on Thursday claiming that it was targeted at its file sharing servers. The school did not announce the extent of the incident, however.
“As soon as the Technology Services Centre (TSC) of Lakehead became aware of the potential threat to our servers, all access to them was removed by TSC,” the university said.
An investigation is ongoing, seeking to ascertain what servers and data were compromised by the security incident. “All information used and stored on our file sharing servers will be inaccessible and on-campus computers will not be available for use until the assessment is completed.”
The University urges everyone on its file sharing site or on a campus office computer who has held credential sets in documents to update their passwords as a precaution.
Although this is a wise suggestion in the event of a hack, a ransomware attack might be suggested by the possibility that the attack spread to campus office computers. However, the existence of the attack or its duration has not been revealed by the University, as previously stated.
At this point, school officials did not state whether the attack had an effect on the personal or financial details handled by the university.
Academic performance affected
All its activities, including webinars and virtual Thunder Bay and Orillia campus tours planned for this Friday, have been cancelled by Lakehead University.
Any students were unable to connect with their professors, get their academic schedule, use the library, send papers or payments with a deadline when all the facilities were down.
Lakehead University proposed a potential alternative for students, professors, and staff to gain email access in a tweet on Friday. This technique does not work in all situations, however. The school said that users could load the Gmail mailbox if the login data is available in the window.
To navigate online learning sites, students focus on the school’s resources. For them to study for midterms, course connections, Google resources (Gmail, Docs), and the university library are important.
For the time being, after a student appeal, university administrators have not agreed on pushing the deadlines for assignments, deferring tests, or extending reading week, but are not excluding it. They hope to restore services in the near future and resume classes on Monday.