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Newcastle University warns that 'serious cyber incident' could take weeks to fix

Posted on Sep 10, 2020
Newcastle University warns that 'serious cyber incident' could take weeks to fix

Newcastle University has been hit by a cyberattack that it says will take weeks to fix – and while the institution hasn't confirmed the nature of the incident, a ransomware gang is threatening online to leak the personal data of students.

The university first started reporting issues with IT systems on September 1, which has since lead to almost all university systems used by students and staff becoming restricted or unavailable in an effort to stop further disruption by the attack.

"It is essential that our IT estate is free from any malware and secure before we start the recovery process," said an update by the university on September 2.

The type of malware that has infected the systems hasn't been disclosed by the university, but cyber criminals have claimed responsibility for a ransomware attack against the university – and they're threatening to release the personal data of students.

The DoppelPaymer ransomware gang has become known for demanding large Bitcoin ransoms from victims and has in the past posted personal data stolen from systems before they were encrypted in an effort to force victims into paying up. DoppelPaymer is thought to be an updated version of BitPaymer ransomware.

However, the university is yet to confirm if it has fallen victim to a ransomware attack, let alone the specifics of the ransomware family that has potentially compromised its systems. It has only said that "investigations are ongoing" into the cyberattack and that "many IT services are not operating".

ZDNet has attempted to confirm the nature of the attack, but at the time of publication is yet to receive comment from the university.

Full article on https://www.zdnet.com/article/university-warns-that-serious-cyber-incident-could-take-weeks-to-fix/

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