German university Ruhr-Universität Bochum's network suffers lethal cyber attack

Ruhr University Bochum (RUB) is a reputed German university. It holds the fourth rank among the top 500 universities.

An unidentified group of hackers has brought down the famous German university Ruhr University Bochum's central IT infrastructure. The massive attack compromised a significant chunk of the university network infrastructure. The Ruhr University Bochum has officially accepted the hacking incident via a tweet.

All RUB networks are down

As an act of caution, the university authorities have taken down its central infrastructure including the official site, internet service portal, email server and the VPN tunnel. The hacking operation was reportedly executed on the night of May 6 and was carried on till the early morning of May 7. The university authorities haven't confirmed the nature of the attack, so it's tough to say whether it's a ransomware attack or something else.

RUB University hack
RUB University hack screegrab/IBTimes

RUB has confirmed the hacking incident via a press release. The university authorities have added that they are in the process of identifying the nature of the attack and the kill chain involved in it. To investigate the entire damage and to stay safe from further attacks, the RUB authorities have taken it's most of the critical network.

Authorities release safety guidelines

The IT service authorities have also recommended turning down all the Windows-powered server system in the faculties as well. The authorities have also mentioned restricting the Windows-based applications in RUB faculties to decrease the damage.

The university has also alerted its users to refrain from opening any mail attachments and send all the official documents in PDF format to avoid spear-phishing campaigns. Significantly, hackers prefer Office and other document files as malware payloads. However, they sometimes use PDF files also for carrying malware.

Emergency Services

However, to continue its courses via distant learning, the RUB IT service authorities have also decided to keep all the necessary services like RUB Mail service, Moodle, RUB Cast, Zoom and Matrix (Riot) alive.

"All emergency calls on campus should be made to the Ruhr-Universität Bochum Control Room! Depending on which type of emergency has occurred, the Control Room staff will call the according to emergency service," the press release has mentioned.

Ruhr University Bochum (RUB) is a reputed German university. It holds the fourth rank at the top 500 university listing for last two years. The university has a student base of 42,900, and it has around 6000 employees.

Related topics : Cybersecurity