A Catalan university, paralyzed by a cyber attack

Ransomware attack on a university

This university in Catalonia has been the latest victim of a ransomware attack In our country. Specifically, it has affected the virtual campus, the platform that users use to upload jobs, download syllabi and be able to follow the classes remotely. In addition, it is a reference center in distance higher education.

During the last day, the students of this Catalan university have had problems to access the virtual campus. The university itself received a ransom note, something that is always linked to a ransomware attack, where they requested to pay a ransom for the service to work properly. At first, before receiving that message, they thought it was a technical problem.

In the official Twitter account from the university, reported that user data they weren’t in danger. They indicated that they had been victims of a cyber attack and that prevented them from accessing the accounts, but there was no risk of personal information leaks.

It must be taken into account that this attack has come at a time when students need to access the virtual campus, since it is the last weeks of the first term and there are many works pending to be delivered, as well as studying syllabi for future exams. This upset everything to both teachers and students.

Almost fully restored

The latest information that the university itself has given on its Twitter account indicates that the problem is practically solved, although not 100% yet. Specifically, they indicate that they have restored service and it is at 95% of its operation. The majority of users can now enter.

In addition, they indicate that they are working together with the Catalan Cybersecurity Agency to see what could have happened and to be more prepared for a hypothetical new attack that once again puts the servers and access to the virtual campus at risk by students and teachers .

How a ransomware attack works

A ransomware is a type of malicious software that has the ability to encrypt files and systems. It can make a computer completely inaccessible, a server, or documents encrypted and impossible to open and read normally. This affects both private users and organizations of all kinds.

What hackers do is ask for a financial rescue In return. They ask to pay money to free those files or to decrypt the systems so that they can work properly again. In many cases, once the victim has paid the ransom, they are unable to access the files normally.

How hackers sneak ransomware can vary. They generally take advantage of a vulnerability in systems. For example, a computer that is outdated and has some uncorrected fault. But they can also send malicious files via email or via rogue app downloads.

To avoid being victims of ransomware, it is essential to have a good antivirus, have updated equipment and, of course, maintain common sense and not make mistakes that could affect us.

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