Queensland University of Technology shuts IT systems after being hit by ransomware attack

Campus printers were forced to print ransomware notes by mass after a cyberattack on Queensland’s second largest university.

Multiple IT systems at the Queensland University of Technology have been shut down by the university as a precaution.

Professor Margaret Sheil of QUT was quoted as saying that her printer was among those who were affected by the incident this morning.

“In mine, it printed until there was no paper in my print machine,” she stated.

The ransom note claims it is from ‘Royal Ransomware’. Professor Sheil claimed that this ransomware was a well-known scheme.

Recently, the United States Health Department issued a warning about ransomware to hospitals. Attacks were first reported in America in September.

Two weeks ago, the US authorities warned that Royal ransomware is newer and that less information is available about its operators and users than other ransomware.

The message being printed on QUT computers on December 22, 2022 that appears to be scam or cyber attack
QUT will print the message.(Supplied)

The ransomware note printed in black and white warns that “your critical data was not just encrypted, but also copied”. It is possible for it to be published online if a “modest royalties” are paid.

Professor Sheil claimed that multiple systems were compromised but that none of the “core student, staff, or financial systems appeared to have been involved.

Investigation underway

The university has taken down all IT systems in order to protect itself while technical staff and other specialists conduct an investigation.

Professor Sheil said, “Everything that is sensitive in terms of holding information and so forth, we have shut down.”

“Most of our systems are down because they’ve stopped access or shut them down. This includes the system that manages student enrolment data. It also contains the system that students can access to their course information and staff systems.

“There are other systems where they’re compromised – not necessarily shut down – but with a file might have been locked by the attack.”

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