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NUI Galway on-campus internet access disabled after attempted cyber attack

The university said there is currently “no evidence of any data being compromised”.

ACCESS BETWEEN THE internet and NUI Galway’s campus network has been disabled after an attempted cyber attack on its IT systems.

The university said there is no evidence at this stage that any data was compromised, but that the incident is being monitored and investigated.

The measure impacts access to the internet for both students and staff studying and working on campus.

In a statement, a spokesperson confirmed: “NUI Galway has been subject to an attempted cyber attack on the university’s IT systems.”

“Our IT, cyber security and data protection specialists are monitoring and investigating the incident closely. At this point there is no evidence of any data being compromised,” the spokesperson said.

“As a precautionary measure, the university has disabled access between the campus network and the wider internet, impacting all users, including students and staff.

“We are working to restore normal access as soon as is possible. We apologise for the inconvenience caused.”

The university has cancelled several events that were scheduled to take place due to the disruption, including a support session on using campus accounts, Blackboard (a platform used for sharing course material), and student emails, and an online talk about part-time jobs.

In an email from the university, students were told that the incident had led to “significant disruption to connectivity between the campus network and the wider internet”.

“Access to university cloud-based platforms including email, MS Teams and Zoom remains possible from off-campus locations,” the email said.

“If you are on campus, you can access these services from a mobile phone if you turn off its WiFi connection. Access to some services including Blackboard is not currently available from any location.”

Last year, NUI Galway was one of more than 20 institutions globally affected by hackers targeting Blackbaud, a cloud provider used by some third-level institutions to store information.

The university said that names, phone numbers and emails of alumni in its database may have been obtained in the hack.

Blackbaud paid a ransom to the attacker, which said that the copy of the data it removed from NUI Galway’s system had been destroyed.

In April, IT services were disrupted at Technological University Dublin and the National College of Ireland when they were hit by ransomware attacks. 

TU Dublin’s Tallaght campus experienced a “significant” ransomware attack, sparking a garda investigation, but said there was no indication that data had been downloaded or copied.

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