Following events that have affected at least a half dozen other comparable institutions in recent months, the Kaiserslautern University of Applied Sciences (HS Kaiserslautern) has become the latest German-speaking university to be targeted by a ransomware attack. HS Kaiserslautern is one of the major applied science universities in the state of Rhineland-Palatinate, which is located in the western part of Germany. It is also the most recent German-speaking institution with an emphasis on applied sciences to be attacked by cybercriminals in recent months. There are about 6,200 pupils attending this educational institution, and nearly every facility and service that is provided to them has been disrupted. According to a statement released by the institution, all university facilities, including computer labs and even the library, would “remain closed until further notice.”
As this is an encryption attack, the workstations at the staff’s workplaces may also be impacted, students and staff have been cautioned not to turn on any of their work computers. On Friday, the university used an emergency webpage to report the issue and say that its “entire IT infrastructure had been knocked down. This included university email accounts as well as the telephone system.
It is not obvious who the offenders are, nor is it clear if information was taken from the university’s systems as part of a sophisticated extortion effort before the hackers tried to encrypt them. Moreover, it is unknown whether the hackers were successful in encrypting the material.
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