back to article Who's hacking into UK unis? Spies, research-nickers... or rival gamers living in res hall?

Who's hacking into university systems? Here's a clue from the UK higher education tech crew at Jisc: the attacks drop dramatically during summer break. A new study from Jisc (formerly the Joint Information Systems Committee) has suggested that rather than state-backed baddies or common criminals looking to siphon off academic …

  1. Uberior

    Do they need to hack a UNI anymore?

    Just set up a Bike Sharing service in a university town and with many students to install the App.

    Allow sharing of...

    1. Dr Dan Holdsworth

      Re: Do they need to hack a UNI anymore?

      Sometimes the attacks are subtle, elegant and amusingly pointless.

      At a university that we shall call the University of Elbonia some years ago, some Computer Science undergrads obtained images of the fingerprints of the head of department by means devious and sly. They encoded these images into a buffer overflow attack in Postscript, conducted against the Computer Science printers, and managed on Friday night to reprogram these printers so that somewhere on every sheet of printing was a copy of one of the Head of Department's fingerprints, printed in very pale greyscale.

      This was left in place over the weekend, then reversed using the same vulnerability on Sunday night. The CS staff were later quietly informed of the vulnerability and how to patch it.

  2. Bob Magoo

    Matt Lock

    So, Matt Lock is the director of Solutions Engineering at Varonis? Hur Hur Hur!!

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    As if this was anything new. Much of the resilience of the BSD* flavor of Unix came from being developed exactly in the same hothouse as the people that would be hacking it. Quite often, it'd be the same people on both sides.

    *- Developed at the University of California, Berkeley.

  4. A Non e-mouse Silver badge


    Could it be that attacking a Uni during term is likely to cause more disruption (i.e. effect) to a Uni than if you do it out of term.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Timing

      Yes but that's the point. North Korean ninja hacker bogeymen can hardly be blamed for cyber-ninja cyber-warfare cyber-terrorism if the only do it to knock students off Facebook during term time

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I've worked in a few uni's - Some have good control of their desktops, others do not. I doubt its student and staff themselves causing this activity, its more likely botnets that are running on PCs and these PCs are turned off in the summer. Also many uni's have their residences go over Janet too, we got rid of this years ago and they use an ISP now, since then the number of internal security issues has decreased ten fold.

    1. MiguelC Silver badge

      I was at Uni once, and students were always trying to beat the system. Most weren't doing it to cause any kind of harm, it was mainly the challenge presented, but also valuable learning opportunities (at least the ability to not get caught)

  6. Robert Helpmann??

    Low hanging fruit

    The kind of data held by universities (student records/intellectual property) is a valuable commodity for cyber criminals, so it is crucial that the security and education sectors work together to protect it.

    It might also be that schools have notoriously bad security practices and IT staff more underpaid than in other sectors, possibly not having any dedicated to security. Many educators are uninterested in working with security because it "gets in their way". I wouldn't expect this to change any time soon.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    These aren't DDoS attacks

    This is just torrenting.

    1. Dr Dan Holdsworth

      Re: These aren't DDoS attacks

      Solutions exist to prevent torrenting; tricks such as having a device on the Halls network which listens for torrent connections, then sends a spoofed hangup packet to each end of every torrent it thinks it sees. Evil, and very effective.

  8. Nick Kew

    Who? When?

    during ... the UK working day

    So that's neither students nor academics, then.

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