RUG after Maastricht cyber attack: Be alert
Due to the safety risk, spokesperson Jorien Bakker was unable to say what these extra measures entail. She does say that it’s important for everyone to stay alert to strange e-mails with unknown links.
‘As we’ve always done, we’re advising people to not open those messages, and delete them’, she says. ‘We have great measures in place and regularly perform checks, but there is such a thing as human error.’ To prevent the RUG from falling prey to ransomware, students and staff have to stay alert.
The ransomware used in Maastricht devastated the entire university network during the winter holidays. Access to scientific data, the e-mailing system, the student portal, and the library was completely blocked.
This was due to the so-called Clop virus: a virus that spreads throughout a network to encrypt data. Only the person who initially spread the virus has the correct key to unlock the data.
The cyber criminals who use this kind of software do so in the hopes of extorting money in exchange for unlocking the data. University magazine Observant claims Maastricht University paid the ransom, to restore the systems as quickly as possible. The university itself had no comment.
It’s unclear how the Clop virus managed to infest the Maastricht University systems, or what can be done against it. The university is investigating and will share its results with other Dutch universities.
On Tuesday, ScienceGuide quoted the university as saying that it doesn’t think the attack was specifically targeted at them. A spokesperson said it was a case of several widespread cyber attacks. The university thinks it was ‘simply unlucky’.