A major Australian university has become the victim of a cybersecurity attack, affecting major services containing students’ personal information.
The IT department at Queensland University of Technology raised the alarm on Thursday morning.
Several printers began producing suspicious messages in bulk, with students instructed not to interact with the printers until further notice.
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The messages say the university’s system has been “hit”.
“Most likely what happened was that you decided to save some money on your security,” it reads.
“Alas, as a result, your critical data was not only encrypted but also copied.
“From there it can be published online. Then anyone on the internet from darknet…and even your employees will be able to see your internal documentation.”
The message then demanded money in return for data.
QUT reported a cohort of 53,253 students in 2021, as well as over 4500 staff members.
In a statement, a QUT spokesperson stated the university had “experienced a cybersecurity incident today which purports to be a Royal ransomware attack”.
“As a precaution, QUT IT systems have been taken offline while investigations are completed. At this stage, our assessment is that no student or staff data has been compromised.
“Staff and students have been notified. Students wanting to accept their QTAC offer are being contacted to let them know systems are down. They will be advised when the systems are back online.
“Technical staff are currently investigating and QUT has notified the relevant agencies of the situation.”