The attack was detected in time by the security operations centre last month, reports the UvA on its website. Measures were then immediately taken and a forensic investigation started.

That was apparently just in time. “In a short space of time, the hackers had infected more than fifty of the more than one thousand servers at the UvA and the HvA and provided them with options to encrypt them at a later date,” writes the UvA. “The servers are now all clean, so the acute danger has passed.”

Lessons learned

Education and research suffered only limited inconvenience from the attack in recent weeks. However, as a precaution, all users of the UvA and HvA systems were asked to change their passwords. More than 110,000 students and staff members did so.

The university and hogeschool have reported the matter to the police and have filed a report with the personal data authority. The police investigation is still ongoing. In the near future, an evaluation will take place of how the UvA and HvA dealt with the hack. The lessons learned will be shared with other higher education institutions, as happened last year after the major cyber attack on Maastricht University.


Since last month NWO has also had to deal with a hack, but their network is ‘not accessible for the time being’, says an update on its website. The science organisation is working hard to solve the issues. “The primary process is expected to resume in the week of 22 March, with adjusted deadlines and timescales where necessary.”


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