Maastricht University is the latest victim of ransomware, hacking into and damaging the university’s Windows system on Christmas Eve (December 23). The Dutch-based university said in a December 24 announcement that almost all Windows systems were infected with ransomware, with e-mail systems particularly badly affected.
In a follow-up update released on 27 December, the university’s staff worked around the clock on recovery efforts. It explained that the team had done its best to minimize the impact on education, researchers, and students. The announcement did not mention the type of ransomware deployed by the hackers, nor was it certain that the hacker had gained access to the data and extracted the information before it was infected.
“Maastricht University (UM) is working on a solution,” the initial announcement read. UM is investigating whether the cyber attacker has access to this data. It is not clear how long it will take UM to find a solution, but it will certainly take some time for these systems to be fully operational again. “
Maastricht University explained that it had submitted a report to law enforcement and was working with experts to conduct further investigations and to recover after the attack. “Since the attack was discovered, UM’s IT staff and outside experts in the field have been working hard. The current phase is mainly related to investigation and maintenance work. And the team is developing solutions to ensure that universities receive more comprehensive protection from such attacks in the future. “
“In order to work as safely as possible, UM temporarily took all systems offline,” the team said. The goal is to give students and employees access to the system as quickly as possible (possibly in stages). Given the scale and extent of the attack, it is not possible to say when it will be possible. It is not possible to confirm which systems were affected and those were not, which required further investigation. “