A cyberattack on the University of London Computer Centre left millions of staff and students at 150 higher and further education institutions without access to their virtual learning environment this morning.
The attack also left numerous university and higher education sector websites down, including the Universities UK site, that of education technology provider Jisc and the European Library.
The ULCC hosts the Moodle virtual learning environment in universities across the UK. Among the universities tweeting that their services were affected were Manchester Metropolitan University, the University of Warwick, Birkbeck, University of London and Queen Mary University of London.
Some three million registered Moodle users are hosted by the ULCC, and a spokesman for the centre confirmed that the “whole system” had been affected from around 7:30am to 11:45am, and that a “complete shutdown” had taken place.
The timing is problematic, since it is exam season at many universities – a time when many students need to access the online learning environment.
A statement from the ULCC, issued at midday, read: “All our services are now up and running again! The networking issue was caused by a cyber attack. We have taken action to block the source. An incident report will be produced and shared in due course.”
The spokesman said that the ULCC was unable to disclose specific details about the attack, although it is thought to have come from an institution in the UK.
A debrief will take place tomorrow, and further information about the attack and its affects will be published on the ULCC website.