An attempted cyber attack against the University of Cyprus, which took place in the early hours of Thursday, was foiled by competent authorities without being able to cause any damage, according to a first estimate, as University services were able to cut off the system and prevent the "worst case scenario" from materialising.
Speaking to CNA, University of Cyprus Rector, Tasos Christofides, confirmed the information regarding the cyber attack against the University. "There was an attack. Luckily we were able to preempt it, so no big damage was done. We are trying to restore the systems", he told CNA.
The Rector stated that it appears that it was "an organised attack that takes place in many universities, in Israel mainly, and in hospitals. Usually these people have some goals, to extort for ransom". He noted that the University of Cyprus received no demand for ransom.
Christos Charalambous, Head of the University's IT Infrastructure Service told CNA that in the early hours of the morning an unauthorized access to non-critical systems that were not upgraded was detected. It was "suspicious traffic", he said, that could lead to malicious damage, and so "we isolated the University" to protect critical systems.
Charalambous noted that all checks were done and at first glance no damage was found. “You can't be 100% sure. A secure system is only a switched off system", he said, adding that access has already been restored internally, the wireless network was connected to the internet, while some services, such as email, telephony and some cloud services were not interrupted. External access to the University's website is still not possible, however, Charalambous said that it is expected to be restored within the next few hours.
The head of the ΙΤ Infrastructure Service also said they had worked with the Digital Security Authority, whose input had been "very helpful".