No classes today as UMass Lowell deals with ‘cyber security incident’

LOWELL, Mass. — Students will not have online or in-person classes Wednesday as an IT outage led to the shutdown of the school’s network, according to UMass Lowell.

The issue was initially reported on the school’s Twitter page Tuesday at 6:02 a.m. and cited an IT outage in which only essential personnel were told to report to work.

At 12:29 p.m. Tuesday, the school said a temporary website had been built with updates on the outage.

Then, Tuesday night, the school said Lowell and Haverhill campuses would be closed Wednesday, once again.

Cyber attacks have become a major problem nationwide, and here in Massachusetts, particularly in recent weeks impacting Rockland Public Schools and the Registry of Motor Vehicles. UMass Lowell has not called this a cyber attack or mentioned if it involved ransomware.

In one post on the new website, the school explained the steps being taken to bring services back:

Information Technology is investigating a possible cybersecurity incident affecting technology services at the University. UMass Lowell continues to retain control over its IT infrastructure and is working with a leading cyber forensics firm to identify, evaluate and eliminate any issues that are discovered. Out of an abundance of caution, all network communications have been suspended by the university to and from the campus network while the scope of the incident is evaluated. Employees may notice a software program, Red Cloak, temporarily installed on all university devices by IT to identify and evaluate potential security threats. If any threats are identified, IT will correct the issues and then begin incrementally restoring network services, prioritizing academic technology infrastructure such as Blackboard and Zoom. No timeframe has yet been determined for a full restoration of services. Additional information will be provided as it becomes available and posted here while the university’s main website is unavailable.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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