All of the applications on the NWO network are blocked at the moment, the NWO announced on its website, which is about the only thing left untouched by the hack. All NWO’s email addresses have been intercepted, as have those of the coordinating bodies SIA for practical research at universities of applied sciences and NRO for teaching research.

It’s some relief that the application ISAAC, which is used to process grant applications, is run on an external server and seems not to be infected. For security reasons, NWO has blocked all user access to this server for the time being.

Grant procedures delayed

A great deal of work has been disrupted. A number of rounds for applications have had their deadlines postponed. For other rounds the deadline has already passed but assessments cannot yet go ahead.

NWO will be investigating in the coming weeks how and when grant procedures can get back up and running. The organisation says that it is doing everything in its power to repair the damage and does not want to make any further comments about the way that the hack was carried out or about further measures for correcting the problem.

No one knows what the hackers wanted from NWO. The problem is reminiscent of Maastricht University, where a year ago hackers held their servers hostage. At that time, ransom was paid to regain access to the servers.


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