IIT-M launches investigation into hacking of its server

The Indian Institute of Technology-Madras (IIT-M) has launched an investigation into the hacking of one of its servers that resulted in a temporary shutdown of its e-mail services last month.

Confirming that one of its e-mail servers was “down” temporarily, the institution said that the issue was resolved and normalcy restored.

Investigating cause

“All e-mails on the server are being backed up and no e-mails have been lost. The backup of e-mails is ongoing and will be completed shortly. The cause is being investigated,” the IIT-M director’s office said on Wednesday.

Responding to a query on whether ransomware had targeted and accessed the research work of students, researchers and academicians, the institution said that “no other services were affected”. The media relations division chose not to comment on whether a criminal complaint was lodged with any law-enforcing agency.

The issue surfaced after a researcher posted a screenshot of a message he received after logging into the IIT-M server, on social media.

The suspected ransomware message claimed that all files were encrypted and to recover them, the data had to be decrypted.

The user was asked to send an e-mail to a particular account for the decrypted file that would be made available on payment.

‘Serious attack’

Acknowledging that there was a “serious attack” on computers on campus, IIT-M sent out a circular to students/staff that the virus appeared to have targeted computers operating on a particular operating system and asked them to take a backup of their work immediately.

The source and the variant of ransomware is under investigation by in-house experts.

The Tamil Nadu police denied having received any complaint from IIT-M on the incident.

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Printable version | Sep 21, 2020 2:56:49 AM |

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