Munster institution targeted by cyber criminals

Munster Technological University Cork has been targeted in a cyber-attack, the educational institution has said.

The TU Cork campus has been closed this week following a “significant” IT breach and phone outages.

In a statement, MTU Cork confirmed the breach was a cyber-attack. The extent of the attack, including which data may have been breached, remains under investigation.

“Following extensive and ongoing initial investigations MTU can confirm that its Cork campuses have been targeted in a cyber-attack. The Kerry campuses of MTU remain unaffected,” the statement said.

The statement said the incident was detected by MTU’s IT security systems last weekend with “immediate steps being taken to intercept and manage the incident”.

“The incident resulted in the encryption of certain MTU systems for the purpose of demanding a ransom,” it added.

MTU said it has been in “close and ongoing contact” with the National Cyber Security Centre, the Data Protection Commission, An Garda Síochána and other relevant stakeholders including Government departments since the incident.

“We have engaged highly specialised services and have been working closely with the expert national authorities and our security partners in immediately instigating a dual process to investigate the cause and extent of the attack as well as the safest and most efficient recovery process,” it said.

While the extent of the incident remains under investigation, the third-level facility said students and staff do not need to take any action at this time and MTU will notify any affected individuals.

“While it is still early in this process we are following all appropriate protocols and procedures in order to minimise and mitigate any impact that this incident may have and to facilitate the restoration of our education services as a top priority,” MTU said.

“We wish to reassure students and staff that we are looking at all of our options as part of this dynamic and evolving situation.”