A cyber attack has brought down the UK’s academic computer network, affecting online services at the University of Brighton.
JANET, the publicly funded network used by universities and other organisations throughout the UK, sustained a persistent Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack in the early hours of Monday morning. A DDoS involves a server being overloaded by requests from multiple different locations.
Janet hosts all of the .ac.uk and .gov.uk domain names in the UK, which means that all websites using these suffixes are at risk. A number of .org websites have also experienced issues, and students across the country have reported problems with the eduroam WiFi system and accessing online services on campus.
The website of Jisc, the public organisation which runs Janet, is also down, although it has been releasing period updates via Twitter. Early on Monday morning, however, it stated that crucial updates would now be going directly to universities as it believed the attackers were adjusting their efforts in response to the organisation’s tweets.
#TT169554 – We suspect that those behind today’s DDOS attack are adjusting their point of attack based on our twitter updates.
— Jisc Major Incidents (@jiscmi) December 7, 2015
The University of Brighton took the unprecedented task of emailing all students on Tuesday afternoon, highlighting the issues and encouraging students with academic deadlines to get in touch with their schools. A warning banner was also placed on StudentCentral, and the university’s Information Services status page contained a number of amber ‘At Risk’ warnings.
Cyber attacks have been on the rise in recent years. No individual or group has taken responsibility for today’s attack.
by Tommer Spence