Maybe you have noticed, or maybe you haven’t. Student Portal is down as the whole UM network has been hit by a cyberattack on 23rd December. For safety, the University has thrown all of its systems offline in order to figure out what exactly is going on (and also to make some needed repairs). All they say now is that the attack was large, and that criminal intent cannot be ruled out.
For most of us this does not mean much; hell, we may even get a couple of extra days off. But what if there actually is criminal intent, what would that mean for the University, its staff, and students? Momentarily there is speculation that it could be ransom-ware which is holding our systems hostage until the University pays the attackers their desired amount. This may not sound very harmful; however, this may have some consequences. The longer the UM does not pay or the longer it takes to kick out the attacker, without alternative channels for staff and students to use, the more researchers will be falling behind on their work, students will be unable to apply for thesis supervisors, internships, and loans, and deadlines will pass.
The University has gone to the Police for help with the cyberattack. On the 28th the University posted on the website that support networks will soon be up and students and staff can still go to the university buildings from 2nd January onward.
If this was a ransom-ware attack, this would surely not mean the end of UM and in its history would only be a minor inconvenience. However, ‘minor’ inconveniences do seem to be a major problem in our times. Another ‘minor’ issue, this time in the United States, is that Trump’s cameo in Home Alone 2: Lost in New York has been removed from the televised version in Canada. Claims have even been made that this is a form of censorship, Trump Jr. being among those who were not happy about this cut, see his Twitter for more details. Trump himself did not seem to be too bothered, probably taking some time off in Florida from another ‘minor’ issue. Does one have to feel impeached to be impeached?