‘Atrocities’ Hit University of Cambridge’s Medical School


The University of Cambridge is consistently ranked among the top universities in the world, with its medical school and many research centers. among the best. But for the past month, staff at the prestigious medical school have been left reeling from “malicious” computer problems.

A “staff notice” posted by WIRED, believed to have been sent in late February, warned staff about the outage and said the university was working to restore online operations as soon as possible. However, weeks later, the incident is still ongoing, and more details have been released about what happened.

“IT services provided by the Clinical School Computing Service (CSCS) have been compromised,” an email reviewed by WIRED says. “We appreciate that some staff and students are experiencing significant disruption to their work and education, and we appreciate your patience and understanding.”

The university has confirmed to WIRED that its systems have been affected, that some jobs have been voluntarily removed, and that although it “is” aware of what happened, the disruption is ongoing and its investigation will take time to complete. No data has been taken, it says. The UK’s national cybersecurity agency and the country’s data regulator are also looking into the situation.

An email sent to staff last month said a “Critical Incident Management Team” had been set up to respond. At the time the message was sent, the email said, there was no access to the IT network and Wi-Fi, and wired internet was turned off in the affected buildings, while Wi-Fi was set to be reactivated. the same day.

CSCS provides IT support to staff and researchers at the University’s School of Clinical Medicine. An page saved on its website says there are more than 5,800 devices on its network, and the group provides computers and servers to employees. An email seen by WIRED says CSCS also serves the Department of Zoology, the Sainsbury Laboratory, which researches plants; Stem Cell Institute; and the Milner Institute of the School of Biological Sciences, which researches emerging medicines. They are all affected.

A spokesperson for the University of Cambridge confirmed the incident to WIRED, saying a “malicious” vulnerability was discovered on the Clinical School Computing Service last month. “We took immediate action to stop the incident including intentionally bringing other systems offline,” the spokesperson said. “As a result, there is disruption to other services.”

It is unclear what this “malicious activity” involves or if the activity is being attacked by hackers or some other type of activity. Several employees of the university’s departments did not respond to questions sent by WIRED about whether their work or research had been disrupted, or they answered questions at the press office because they are not authorized to speak about the incident.

A university spokesman did not elaborate on the nature of the problem; however, they said a business continuity plan has been put in place to minimize disruption, and all other IT universities and colleges are operating as usual and are not affected. “This may take some time to complete,” the spokesman said of the investigation. “Investigators found no evidence that data was taken or transferred without permission. We have also received third-party confirmation that this has occurred.” They said things have progressed since the email seen by WIRED was sent, and it’s impossible to understate the level of confusion in all departments.


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