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UMass Lowell To Remain Closed Thursday Due To 'Possible Cybersecurity Incident'

LOWELL (CBS) – UMass Lowell will be closed Thursday due to what the university called a "possible cybersecurity incident" that impacted technology services on Tuesday.

Thursday will be the third day all in-person and remote classes are canceled as a result. However, the university said it will be able to resume some business operations.

A UMass Lowell spokesperson said no timeframe has been determined for a full restoration of services. However, the school is focusing on the network that affects classes and getting it up and running.

Information Technology is investigating a possible cybersecurity incident affecting technology services at the University. UMass Lowell continues to retain control over its IT infrastructure and is working with a leading cyber forensics firm to identify, evaluate and eliminate any issues that are discovered. Out of an abundance of caution, all network communications have been suspended by the university to and from the campus network while the scope of the incident is evaluated.

On Tuesday afternoon, the UMass Lowell website was inaccessible. The school set up a temporary website.

"I didn't even get this email because the WiFi was down. So I showed up to class. I didn't even realize it was canceled," said student Sarah Mendes.

"It's always a good indicator if an organization can contain immediately so they do have some control over their IT infrastructure," said Cyber Defense Expert Peter Tran.

Tran said the first 24-48 hours of any potential cybersecurity incident are crucial for identifying, isolating, and containing any threats.

The IT outage at UMass Lowell comes just days after the Steamship Authority was able to restore its website following a ransomware attack.

"This is par for the course as far the momentum that we're seeing for cybersecurity attacks globally not just locally," said Tran.

An independent company will investigate whether the incident is an actual security breach.

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