May 23, 2024

Science – The University of Duisburg-Essen continues to struggle with the consequences of two hacker attacks

University of Duisburg-Essen (UDE) building in Essen (dpa / picture alliance / Roland Weihrauch)

While some services are already working again, it may take until spring for all issues to be fully resolved. As Chancellor Andreas Menin recently announced, the aim is to get back to normal by the summer semester. According to the information, phones are now working again, and digital media can also be borrowed from libraries again.

For the second time in a few weeks, the University of Duisburg-Essen (UDE) was the target of a hacker attack in mid-December. This time, after the first cyberattack, the temporary website was subjected to a “massive attack”. During the first attack on November 27, the entire IT system, including the landline phone, was paralyzed. Only incrementally can experts restore or replace some digital services. However, teaching with over 40,000 students is greatly restricted.

The Public Prosecutor’s Office expects investigations to have international references

After the new hacker attack, the university administration asked students and faculty to renew their passwords via social media such as Twitter. Face-to-face lectures resumed after the first attack 17 days ago, but digital access to educational materials and registration and unregistration for exams or uploading work has not been possible for a long time.

Hackers were said to have breached internal systems, encrypted large chunks, and demanded ransoms during the attack. The university had shut down the information technology, and informed the responsible security authorities and reported this. The Central Contact Point for Cybercrime (ZAC) at the Cologne Public Prosecutor’s Office has been leading the investigation ever since. The spokesman there, Christoph Hebecker, expects the process to take months, possibly with international implications.

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This message was broadcast on Deutschlandfunk on December 24, 2022.