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University of Hertfordshire forced offline by cyber attack

April 2021 by Oliver Cronk, Chief IT Architect, EMEA, Tanium

In light of the recent attack on University of Hertfordshire which has forced most of their IT systems offline, the comment from Tanium’s Chief IT Architect, EMEA Oliver Cronk:

“This attack provides another unfortunate reminder of how the education sector has become increasingly targeted by cyber attacks in recent times.

Universities are in a tough position in that both cybercrime attacks such as ransomware and nation state attacks are on the rise. It’s not always possible to stop them, but that doesn’t mean it has to be made easy for them to successfully breach a network. This is where IT hygiene and security best practice is absolutely crucial. Cybersecurity awareness training being available for staff and students, testing backup systems and having an effective plan in place for any breaches that do occur, will all help minimise the impact of attacks.

This increase in cyber threats would be challenging enough to deal with by itself, but when you add the complexity that has been brought about by the pandemic then the IT team’s job becomes even more difficult. Mass remote learning has meant that managing the various devices that are connecting to the university networks is a complicated task, even impossible if you don’t have the right tools in place. IT teams should ensure they gain this visibility so that any unpatched and vulnerable devices can be identified and addressed.”

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