All of the University of Hertfordshire’s IT systems, including Office 365, Teams, and Zoom, as well as local networks, Wi-Fi, email, data storage, and VPN, were knocked out by a crippling cyberattack.
On Wednesday, the university was attacked by terrorists, resulting in the cancellation of all online classes for Thursday and Friday.
“Shortly before 22:00 on Wednesday 14 April, the University experienced a cyber-attack which has impacted all of our systems, including those in the Cloud such as Canvas, MS Teams and Zoom,” it said in an update on its website.
Because of the ban on in-person classes due to the pandemic, the university and most students rely on online learning and video-conferencing apps like Zoom. The UK government has permitted some students to return to in-person teaching if they need specialized equipment, but has barred a complete return until May 17.
The university acknowledged that the outage could affect students’ ability to submit assignments, but assured them that no student would be harmed as a result.
Students were permitted to attend the university as long as they did not require computer access.
“You will not be able to access computer facilities in the LRCs, Labs or the University Wi-Fi. Remote access to specialist software and PCs is currently unavailable,” the university said.
The scale of the outage is seen on Hertfordshire’s status page, which was last updated 23 hours ago.
It’s unclear what kind of cyberattack the university faced, but the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) warned last month that ransomware attacks on schools, colleges, and universities were on the rise.
“In recent incidents affecting the education sector, ransomware has led to the loss of student coursework, school financial records, as well as data relating to COVID-19 testing,” the agency said.