NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—An email sent at 2:29pm on March 29 was the first official communication that tens of thousands of students got from Rutgers University, after more than two days of service interruptions involving the school's computer network.
The university acknowledged its network was the victim of a cyber-attack that took down internet service in dormitories, and rendered many online services used by students and staff unusable. Shortly after 1pm, the main Rutgers University website had been taken offline for at least 15 minutes.
"The Rutgers Office of Information Technology (OIT) has been working around the clock to resolve service interruptions caused by a Distributed Denial of Service (DDOS) that began Friday afternoon," read the email from Rutgers VP of Information Technology and Chief Information Officer Don Smith.
The email was addressed to "Gentlepeople," and came more than 48 hours after another email warned some employees at Rutgers that "The University is currently running security scans on many networks."
The university still has not released a statement to the media, and New Brunswick Today continues to be the only outlet covering the story.
It's still not clear if any personal or academic data was compromised in the attack, and any personal data from the school's massive server. But the university says it has not "detected" any breaches of "confidential" information.
"OIT has not detected any instances of a breach of confidential information and continues to monitor closely for any such occurrence," read the announcement.
"While we work to resolve this matter, some services will be unavailable or only work intermittently. Currently, Sakai and CAS (authentication) are available on campus but not off campus."
This marks the second time a DDoS attack has targeted the university. On November 19, an attack affected the school's online class registration software.
The unverified text of an email allegedly from Smith indicated that Rutgers Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation were involved. Neither agency responded to an email inquiry from NBT.
"OIT has addressed each attack as it was detected (detection was immediate in each instance), but as fast as we fix one service, the next gets hit," reads the communication.
"Sakai, CAS (authentication), and the dorms have been targeted by the attacker(s). Other services have also been affected. The attacks are coming from China and eastern Europe."
Charlie is the founder and editor of New Brunswick Today, and the winner of the Awbrey Award for Community-Oriented Local Journalism. He is a proud Rutgers University journalism graduate and a community organizer, and was an independent candidate for Mayor of New Brunswick in 2018.