11 May 2021
The University of Hertfordshire was hit by a cyber-attack that has taken down its entire IT network as well as blocking access to its cloud-based services. It revealed the attack occurred late on April 14 in a statement posted on its website. As a result, all its online classes scheduled today for the following day were cancelled.
The statement read: “Shortly before 22:00 last night, 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. Please be reassured that our IT colleagues are working hard to rectify the situation as soon as possible.
“However, as a result, all online teaching will be cancelled today (Thursday 15 April), and we understand that this may impact students being able to submit assignments. We want to reassure our students that no-one will be disadvantaged as a consequence of this.
“Any in-person, on-campus teaching may still continue today, if computer access is not required, but students will have no onsite or remote access to computer facilities in the LRC’s, labs or the university Wi-Fi. “We apologise for the inconvenience this situation has caused and will continue to keep you updated. You can check the status of all our systems by visiting https://status.herts.ac.uk/.”
Currently, there are no further details about the nature of the attack, although there has been a sharp rise in ransomware attacks targeting higher education institutions in the last year. This partly as a result of additional vulnerabilities brought about by the shift to online learning during Covid-19. Last year in the UK, Newcastle and Northumbria Universities experienced ransomware incidents, causing significant disruption. n