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News, University News

Most University systems restored following last Tuesday’s cyberattack

A week after security breach, systems in computer network are “on the road to recovery”

University News Editor
Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Most of the University’s non-cloud based systems have been restored following the March 30 cyberattack, said Bill Thirsk, chief digital officer and chief information officer, during a report at Tuesday’s faculty meeting. 

The attack last Tuesday caused a temporary data outage of all systems excluding Canvas, Workday, Zoom and Google.

The latest security breach is one in a series of cyberattacks experienced by other institutions including University of California, Los Angeles and Stanford University in the same week, but the relationships between these incidents remain unclear.

Web addresses ending in “,” email listservs and the library website were restored the following day, according to a community-wide email sent by Thirsk on April 1. 

Currently, systems in the computer network including those related to research, dining halls and high performance computing have returned to operations. Advising SideKick, Brown Digital Repository, Banner and Oscar — the University’s supercomputer — are now available to access again, said Thirsk. Administrative systems have also been mostly restored, he added.

Students were “largely unaffected” by the attack, Thirsk said — of those that were, most were PhD or postdoctoral students conducting research. 

When a professor asked whether he needed to change his passwords, Thirsk responded that “there is nothing needed to be changed” unless they were contacted by Computing and Information Services. “We are well on the road to recovery,” said Thirsk.

President Christina Paxson P’19 thanked the efforts of Thirsk and CIS staff who “have been working 24/7 … through a holiday weekend.” Paxson said.

She added that the team is currently focusing on “getting things back,” and that the origins or nature of the attack would be addressed “at an appropriate time.”


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