Shortly after 10pm on Wednesday 14th April, my Uni, the University of Hertfordshire was hit by a cyber attack.
I first found out about it from a friend messaging me saying he couldn’t access the online learning platform StudyNet and asking me if I could.
I had just left the pub after a few drinks with some of my other friends and after checking on my phone, I couldn’t access any of the Uni services either.
I thought it may have been a temporary crash, but when I woke up the next morning and everything was still down along with an email announcement from the Uni’s IT operations, I knew it was something more serious.
It appeared that the cyber criminals had targeted the authentication servers at first, since the domain in which all the Uni’s services requiring authentication were redirected to “adfs.herts.ac.uk” was timing out.
Professors teaching cyber security informed us that part of the attack involved a DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service), a type of attack where computer systems are made unavailable, usually by overloading them, so that is a potential speculation.
The incident is still ongoing, but most of the systems have now been brought back online and hopefully we will be provided more information when the necessary investigations have been carried out.
Since Covid forced all Unis to move teaching online, they have been targeted by cyber attacks a lot recently. The University of Northampton was hit just a few weeks before Herts.
This is one of the reasons why cyber security interests me, because there will always be a need for it, so long as computer systems exist.