Rutgers University Hit by Cyberattack, Again

In a Facebook post, Rutgers University has confirmed that it was the target of another cyberattack that resulted in the temporary disruption of its computer servers and its website. The cyberattack was predictably carried out with a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack.

It began early on December 24, when the university’s website was struck by a DDoS attack that inundated the servers and the website over the space of a few days. The revelation was made in a Facebook page belonging to Rutgers’ Office of Information Technology.

A statement read:

On the morning of December 24th, Rutgers experienced an intermittent DDoS attack, directed primarily at

OIT worked with our provider on mitigation and has advised law enforcement of the attack. Users may experience difficulty accessing Sakai until the problem is resolved.

Sakai is the portal used by the school’s staff as an open source Learning Management System.

The attacks continued over the next few days, with the University’s Office of Information Technology releasing periodic updates to notify users’ accessibility may be disrupted.

The University took steps to mitigate the relentless DDoS attacks by notably improving cybersecurity measures. One of the primary steps taken was to set aside a cybersecurity budget, reportedly worth several millions of dollars, that was primarily funded through a tuition hike.

Rutgers has since hired the services of multiple cybersecurity firms to improve its defenses and implement a better cybersecurity infrastructure.

It wasn’t until the December 28 when Rutgers OIT released another update to note that all Rutgers University services rendered online were finally back and functioning normally.

Additionally, a new update posted late evening on December 29 also had the Information Technology department revealing a replacement of equipment that served as infrastructure for the department.

The statement read:

Update: The replacement of the OIT Infrastructure equipment for production services on 12/1/15 and 12/27/15 was successfully completed on their respective dates. All Production services supported by this equipment are now available.

Lifars previously reported on Rutgers allocating a budget of up to $3 million this year, exclusively for cybersecurity.

Senior vice president for administration at Rutgers University Bruce Fehn, who also led the cybersecurity reinforcement drive said at the time:

We were not well protected. We feel we are in a better position than we were before.

Altogether, the DDoS attacks in December count as the 6th time this year that Rutgers University’s online services were disrupted by DDoS attacks.