Sunderland University Seeks To Recover From ‘Extensive’ Cyber-Attack

Image credit: University of Sunderland

IT and email systems at Sunderland University offline since last week following ‘major cyber-attack’ that caused ‘extensive interruption’

Sunderland University has said it cannot say how long it could take for its systems to recover from a “major cyber-attack”.

The university’s telephone, website and IT systems have been disrupted since last week.

In a video message on a temporary website, vice-chancellor Sir David Bell said staff were “working as hard as we can” to resolve the problem.

He said campuses have been “much more vibrant” since the end of Covid-19 lockdowns, and that as a result it was “particularly upsetting” to experience the cyber-attack.

Image credit: University of Sunderland cyber-attack, ransomware, crime, security
Image credit: University of Sunderland

‘Extensive interruption’

“We’ve experienced extensive interruption to our IT systems and services for the last few days,” he said.

“The obvious question is how long will this situation last? The honest answer at the moment is we just don’t know.”

Bell said the university was working with “outside experts” and was working to maintain teaching and “protect the data we hold”.

“We want students to continue to come on to our campuses so we can maintain teaching and learning,” he said.

Hacking spike

“It might take a little time but we will get through this together.”

Newcastle and Northumbria Universities were targeted by hackers in September of 2020 amidst a spike in attacks on educational institutions.

In April of this year the University of Hertfordshire and the University of Portsmouth were also hit by network outages following a ransomware incident.

In February 2020 the IT systems of Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council were down for more than three weeks due to a cyber-attack, forcing staff to use pen and paper, at a cost of at least £10m.