RUG after Maastricht cyber attack: Be alert, don’t click on strange emails

RUG after Maastricht cyber attack: Be alert

After the successful ransomware attack on the university of Maastricht, Dutch universities are on edge. Last year, the RUG invested in ‘extra measures’ and tells people to stay alert.
8 January om 11:20 uur.
Laatst gewijzigd op 14 January 2020
om 11:12 uur.
January 8 at 11:20 AM.
Last modified on January 14, 2020
at 11:12 AM.

Giulia Fabrizi

Door Giulia Fabrizi

8 January om 11:20 uur.
Laatst gewijzigd op 14 January 2020
om 11:12 uur.
Giulia Fabrizi

By Giulia Fabrizi

January 8 at 11:20 AM.
Last modified on January 14, 2020
at 11:12 AM.

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.

Ransomware

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.

Cause

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’.

Nederlands