IIT-M’s email servers shut down, raises malware concerns

T E Raja Simhan Chennai | Updated on February 19, 2020

IIT-Madras may be a victim of cyber attack. Its email servers may have been hacked and the entire email system has been shut down since afternoon, according to people in the know.

While the institute did not comment if it was a malware or ransomware, a single line statement said, “The email server at IIT-Madras went down and the cause is being investigated. The Institute has a back-up for the email system and will restore the system soon.”

It could be ransomware attack, said a cyber analyst. “This will affect the institute’s credibility as IIT-Madras has many exchange programmes with foreign universities,” he added.

While the extent of damage is yet unknown, a cyber attack on IITs does raise concern. Institutions such as IITs hold a treasure of data relating to advanced research, researchers, research programmes, projects besides private data relating to students, faculty and alumni. State actors and organised cyber criminals are known to trade such valuable data on the dark web, he said.

The event at IIT-Madras comes close on the heels of an alleged cyber attack in October at Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant which happened as a user had connected a malware infected personal computer to the administrative network.

Published on February 19, 2020

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