London Computer Centre hit by cyber-attack

The University of London's Computing Centre was hit by a major cyber-attack yesterday, leaving millions of students unable to access online learning resources.

According to the Centre's website, services were affected for approximately three to four hours yesterday morning, with everything now up and running as normal.

Rob Lay, Enterprise and Cyber Security Solutions Architect in UK and Ireland at Fujitsu and George Anderson, Director at Webroot, have offered their thoughts on the attack.

Rob Lay

“It seems that not a week goes by that we don’t see a cyber-attack of one type or another. This time, University of London is under the spotlight. The amount of data and confidential information that is transacted every day, coupled with the growth in reliance on digital services, means that any organisation is at risk – making most an easy target in the eyes of a cyber-criminal.

“According to our recent ‘Digital Inside Out’ study into digital enablement, more than 1 in 5 consumers will now always use a digital service when it is offered by an organisation. Yet, despite the surge in usage, concerns amongst consumers still remains; of the 12 per cent of UK consumers who said they never use digital services when offered to them, the second highest reason given for this was security concerns.

"Organisations can no longer afford to make mistakes in security. By communicating from the top down what cyber security means to its business, organisations can help all staff recognise their responsibility in ensuring the company is adequately prepared to manage threats. Security impacts everyone, including students, and being prepared to respond quickly to incidents will help to reduce that impact."

George Anderson

"This attack was clearly implemented to have maximum impact on a system that would have been at peak usage around exam-time. While it’s positive to see that staff at ULCC have got the system back up and running, over 4 hours of ‘complete shutdown’ is not an acceptable time-period in most businesses cases.

"Hopefully this case will serve as a warning to other organisations, encouraging them to ensure that they have an effective strategy in place to make sure user experience is impacted as little as possible."