Massive cyber attack forced Ruhr University Bochum (RUB) to shut down its IT infrastructure

Ruhr University Bochum (RUB) shuts down a large portion of its central IT infrastructure between May 6 and May 7, 2020.

The Ruhr University Bochum (RUB), German, announced today that it was forced to shut down parts of its central IT infrastructure due to a cyber attack that took place overnight, between May 6 and May 7.

“Due to considerable technical problems in the IT infrastructure, a large number of systems have not been available since around 8 a.m. on Thursday, May 7, 2020. As a result, all RUB members, for example, have no access to the Outlook mail program and the VPN tunnel, which is necessary to access folders from the home office. The internal service portal cannot be selected either.” reads a statement published by the University. “The IT Services division is working on a solution. It is also currently being determined whether it is a hacker attack. Further information follows.”

The source of the attack is outside the RUB’s central infrastructure, the IT staff shut down a large part of the IT infrastructure after IT Services recommended shutting down at least all networked Windows-based server systems in the faculties.

[Thread] Due to a computer attack on the central infrastructure of RUB, a large part of the IT infrastructure had to be taken out of service. As a result, a lot of systems are not available (e.g. e-mail, VPN tunnel, “Serviceportal”). ^sk— Ruhr-Universität Bochum (@ruhrunibochum) May 7, 2020The RUB university announced that the IT services along with an external team of experts is currently investigating the incident and are assessing the extent of the damage.

“IT services and an external team of experts are currently analyzing the type and extent of the damage and the further course of action. Further information and recommendations for action will follow.” reads the press release published by the company.

The RUB university recommends its students and employees to limit the usage of  Windows-based applications and avoid opening any email attachments. It also invites to send all office documents in PDF format.

RUB-Mail, Moodle, Rub-Cast, Zoom, and Matrix (Riot) were not impacted by the cyberattack and are still available.

The services RUB-Mail, Moodle, RUBCast, ZOOM, Matrix (Riot) are currently available. ^sk— Ruhr-Universität Bochum (@ruhrunibochum) May 7, 2020At the time it is not clear if the attackers have exfiltrated any data belonging to students, employees, or researchers.

Cyberattacks attacks universities are not uncommon, in December 2019, Maastricht University (UM) announced that ransomware infected almost all of its Windows systems on December 23.

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Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – Ruhr University Bochum (RUB), hacking)

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