Cambridge Under Cyber Attack

DDoS disrupts renowned UK university.


UK Education Targeted

Attacks raise critical infrastructure concerns.


DDoS vs. Ransomware

Not just data theft to fear – DDoS attacks bring systems down.

News > Cyber-Attacks > CA-General
by Kevin Wood

BBG Cyber Report: DDoS Attack Disrupts Cambridge University, Exposing UK Education Sector Vulnerabilities



Education institutes on alert

A wave of DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks swept through the United Kingdom’s higher education sector on February 20th. The attacks caused significant disruptions at the world-renowned University of Cambridge and other prominent institutions. Students and staff alike found themselves struggling with intermittent internet outages, unable to access vital online platforms such as Moodle (the university’s virtual learning environment) and CamSIS (the student information management system).

A Coordinated Assault on Knowledge

The attack appears to have been part of a larger coordinated campaign, as multiple universities on the JANET academic network reported similar outages. The Clinical School Computing Service at Cambridge worked diligently with the Joint Information Systems Committee (Jisc) to mitigate the attack’s effects, but disruptions lingered throughout the day. By February 21st, while many services were restored, some remained degraded.

The hacking group Anonymous Sudan has claimed responsibility for the attacks, citing the UK’s support for Israel as their primary motivation. However, security researchers suspect Anonymous Sudan may serve as a front for state-backed actors with more complex geopolitical agendas.

DDoS: Overwhelming Systems, Not Just Stealing Data

DDoS attacks operate differently from the notorious ransomware attacks that grab headlines. They don’t directly steal data. Instead, by flooding servers with massive volumes of artificial traffic, they overwhelm systems, making them inaccessible to legitimate users. This can create chaos and cause significant operational and reputational damage to the targeted organization.

The Education Sector: A Soft Target?

Cambridge University, with its centuries of history and cutting-edge research, may seem an unlikely target for cybercriminals. However, research institutions rely heavily on open internet access, international collaborations, and the sharing of large datasets. This can make them especially vulnerable to disruption via DDoS. The timing of the attack, possibly designed to coincide with busy periods in the academic calendar, further highlights the attackers’ focus on inflicting maximum disruption.

Lessons for IT Security Teams

This attack serves as a stark reminder of the evolving threat landscape for all organizations, but especially those handling high-value information:

  • DDoS Mitigation Strategy: A robust plan for detecting and mitigating DDoS attacks is essential. This includes working with your Internet Service Provider and potentially investing in specialized protection services.
  • Backup and Redundancy: Regular backups and ensuring redundancy for critical services are not just about ransomware protection. They’re crucial for ensuring continuity when outages occur – however they’re caused.
  • Employee Training: Educating employees about recognizing suspicious network activity and potential phishing attempts is key for early detection of intrusion attempts.

Balance Business Group: Your Partner in Cyber Resilience

At Balance Business Group (BBG), we understand the complexity of modern cyber threats. Our experts are here to help organizations build strong defenses, plan for worst-case scenarios, and bounce back quickly from disruptions. Email us at today to learn how we can help safeguard your precious data and keep your operations running smoothly.


  • BBG: Your Cyber Security Shield – Emphasizes BBG’s protective role
  • DDoS Mitigation Experts – Highlights specific expertise relevant to the article
  • Proactive Defense Strategies – Focus on prevention, not just reaction
  • Disaster Recovery Planning – Ties into the disruption caused by the attack
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