University of Northampton hit by cyber-attack

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University of Northampton
Image caption,
The cyber-attack on the University of Northampton has disrupted its phone and IT systems

A university said it continued to be "severely impacted" nearly a week after being hit by a cyber-attack.

The University of Northampton said the attack on 17 March interrupted services to its IT and telephone systems and servers.

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has been told "as a precaution" and police are investigating.

A spokesman for the university said it was working to "resolve this issue as quickly as possible".

He said the university had involved "IT forensics investigators" who were advising on how to restore services and the possible cause.

"The full facts of the situation have not yet been established," he added.

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Third-year journalism student, Lucy Holmes, 20, who has her final-year project to hand in shortly, said the loss of the university intranet was "very annoying".

Ms Holmes said it meant she could not access any of her course material, tutor feedback or the online library, "which is really hard when I am trying to complete my dissertation".

Image source, Lucy Holmes
Image caption,
Student Lucy Holmes said the cyber attack has come in the middle of her most important term

Fellow student, Richard Smyth, 19, from Northern Ireland, was having all his lectures online with one day a week of face-to-face learning.

The first year student said the cyber attack has meant that all assignment deadlines have had to be pushed back.

He added that students still had access to UK Wifi networks.

"There has been some alternative ways to get round this [cyber attack] with teachers trying their best to keep things going using alternative video-conferencing platforms," he said.

Image source, Richard Smyth
Image caption,
Richard Smyth said tutors had been "trying their best to keep things going using alternative video-conferencing platforms"

Universities and colleges were warned by the UK's cyber-security agency about a rise in cyber-attacks.

The National Cyber Security Centre said that since late February, an increased number of ransomware attacks had affected education establishments.

Earlier this month Queen's University in Belfast had to suspend access to several of its systems as a precaution following an attempted cyber-attack.

The University of Northampton said those who carried out the attack had "no regard to the disruption to teaching and learning such attacks cause".

Northamptonshire Police said it was working with the National Cyber Security Centre to "support the university and investigate this cyber-attack".

A spokeswoman for the force said inquiries were "ongoing".

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