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Brown University Recovering from Cyber Attack

Brown University was still recovering last week from a recent cybersecurity attack that affected Microsoft Windows-based programs, although it did not disclose whether sensitive data was exposed.

Digital rendering of locks on a screen.
(TNS) — A cybersecurity attack last week forced Brown University to shut down some of its computer programs. 

In a letter to the community, Bill Thirsk, the university’s chief digital officer and chief information officer, said his department detected a security incident on March 30, which affected the availability of certain systems within Brown’s computer network.

Brown immediately launched an investigation, and since then, the university has been “methodically working to determine which specific systems were impacted and to restore the involved systems to operation as quickly as possible.”

Several systems have remained on line, including Banner Self Service, Canvas, Workday, Zoom, and Google.

Thirsk said most systems have been restored, including websites,, Listserv services and others.

According to a news publication called Edscoop, the threat affected the university’s Microsoft Windows-based programs, prompting employees to shut down connections to the university’s central data center.

Edscoop reported that Thirsk asked faculty and staff working on campus to stop using Windows-based machines and instead use other devices or computers that run on other operating systems. 

The University of Maryland said last week it has been hit by a massive data breach, putting 309,079 students, faculty and staff at risk. The breach includes information on anyone issued a campus ID for Maryland's College Park and Shady Grove campuses since 1998, according to news reports.

Stolen data include name, Social Security number, date of birth, and university ID number.

Brown didn't comment on whether the two incidents were linked, nor did it say if any sensitive data was breached.

(c)2021 The Providence Journal (Providence, R.I.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.