May 30, 2016 – fortmcmurraytoday.com – he University of Calgary is slowly recovering from a weekend hack attack.
The technical difficulties began Saturday, smack in the middle of the school’s Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences Congress 2016, disabling email, Skype, wireless servers and other systems.
Those with U of C-issued computers were also warned not to use them during the outage.
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Linda Dalgetty, the school’s vice-president of finance and services, said IT teams are working to repair the damage from the malware attack and are still trying to determine what happened.
“Major progress was made over the weekend towards resolving UCalgary systems issues caused by malware, which is software intended to damage or disable computers and computer systems,” she said in a statement Monday.
“How the malware entered the UCalgary network remains under investigation.”
Despite the massive outage, no Congress 2016 activities were cancelled and it ran as planned over the weekend. Faculty and staff were also told to come to work Monday and no classes would be affected.
Dalgetty added those unable to use school technology can once again safely do so, but some lingering issues remain
According to an update on the U of C’s website Monday, Exchange email and Skype continue to be affected, while several users continue to be unable to access school systems.
John Aycock, a professor of computer science at the U of C, said hackers target bugs and exploits in software, more often than not as a means to make money either by stealing and selling personal information or through use of ransomware, aiming to extort money to restore infected systems.
Last September, the records of 29 U of C employees were fraudulently accessed through a breach in the school’s software system, leaving some without paycheques.
Aycock said the university, like anyone impacted by malware, will have to identify what the bug is and try to block any future exploits.
“The best advice I can give any business or organization is try to have a plan for defence, but eventually you will get hit with something like this,” he said.
“We have such reliance on email and the Internet, and when that access is interrupted it’s very distressing when it’s gone all of a sudden.”