University Network “Janet” Struck by Cyber Attack

Universities in the UK have been struck by a DDOS attack which caused major outages to the Janet network. This network serves over 18 million users and provides UK education bodies with a highly reliable and supposedly secure network. The cyber attacks “have resulted in reduced connectivity and disruption” in a statement on network provider, Jisc’s Facebook page. Jisc executive director Tim Kidd explained:

“We understand the importance of connectivity to colleges, universities and other public sector organisations,”

“We are doing everything in our power to ensure normal service in resumed as soon as possible, and in the meantime to minimise any disruption that users of the Janet network may be experiencing. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.”

According to the BBC, the University of Manchester sent out an e-mail after hearing complains from staff and students about connectivity problems which reads:

“By flooding the service with excessive network traffic, an attacker is attempting to exceed the capacity of the service, which causes the service to run slowly or become unavailable,” 

Apparently, the DDOS attacks have managed to disrupt the Janet network for two days and counting! This isn’t an ideal situation and means many students cannot complete their coursework or look online for reading materials. Realistically, you wouldn’t expect a huge government funded network to fall so easily to a DDOS attack and illustrates the system’s vulnerabilities. Hopefully, the network team can learn from this escapade and find better ways to fight cyber attacks in the future. It’s quite clear though that DDOS attacks are on the rise.