Fraud Management & Cybercrime , Ransomware

Irish University Confirms Ransomware Behind Campus Closures

Munster Technological University's Cork Campuses Remain Shut Following the Hack
Irish University Confirms Ransomware Behind Campus Closures
Image: Munster Technological University

Ireland's Munster Technological University confirmed that an ongoing system outage that forced it to shutter its Cork campuses was the result of a ransomware attack.

The university first disclosed it had experienced a system outage on Tuesday, saying the incident affected the IT and telephone systems at its four locations in Cork, leading the school to cancel classes.

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In an update Wednesday, the school confirmed the incident had resulted in the malicious encryption of some systems. Classes in Cork are still canceled, but the university's campus in Kerry in unaffected.

"Following this incident, we have been in close and ongoing contact with the National Cyber Security Center, the Data Protection Commission, Garda Síochána and other relevant stakeholders, including government departments," MTU said.

An Irish National Cyber Security Center spokesperson told Information Security Media Group the agency's staff are on-site to assist with the forensic examination and recovery of MTU's systems. Since the school has backed up its files, its systems such as email, HR, finance, payroll and others were unaffected by the hack, the agency said.

"It also means that the majority of MTU staff can continue to work remotely while a safe return to teaching is planned," the spokesperson said.

Speaking to the Irish Examiner, Paul Gallagher, the vice president of finance and administration at MTU, said the university has declined to pay the ransom and is preparing for a phased reopening next week.

The public university is the result of a 2020 merger between the Cork Institute of Technology and the Institute of Technology Tralee. The Irish Times reported the university serves a population of 18,000 students and has a staff of more than 2,000.

About the Author

Akshaya Asokan

Akshaya Asokan

Senior Correspondent, ISMG

Asokan is a U.K.-based senior correspondent for Information Security Media Group's global news desk. She previously worked with IDG and other publications, reporting on developments in technology, minority rights and education.

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