The website of Edinburgh University was still down at the time of writing after the institution suffered a major cyber-attack during its Freshers’ Week.
A university spokesman told the Edinburgh Evening News that it has “rigid measures in place” to protect IT systems and data.
“Our defenses reacted quickly and no data has been compromised,” he added. “We will continue to work with our internet service provider, [national cybercrime investigators] and with other universities to prevent these network attacks in future.”
The main ed.ac.uk site was still down on Thursday morning, nearly 24 hours after the first reports of an attack went online. That would indicate a serious DDoS attack.
Jisc, the UK non-profit which runs the super-fast Janet network for research and educational institutions, released a statement claiming that a “number of universities” have been targeted this week and adding that the number of DDoS attacks on them “typically increases at this time of year, when students are enrolling at, or returning to university.”
“While Jisc is responsible for protecting connections to the Janet Network for its members (colleges, universities and research centres), members are responsible for protecting their own cyberspace,” it added. “However, Jisc also provides DDoS threat intelligence to its community and provides advice to members affected by cyber-attacks on how to deal with the problem and minimize the impact.”
Ironically, Edinburgh University was praised by the government this year for carrying out cutting-edge cybersecurity research. It is one of 14 Academic Centres of Excellence in Cyber Security Research, backed by the £1.9bn National Cyber Security Strategy.
DDoS attacks grew by 40% year-on-year in the first six months of 2018, according to new figures from Corero Networks.
The security firm claimed that attacks are becoming shorter — with 82% lasting less than 10 minutes — and smaller, with 94% under 5Gbps. However, one in five victims are hit with another attack within 24 hours, the report revealed.