Network access blocked at Willamette University after “cybersecurity incident”

Willamette University’s internet remains shut down three days after a “cybersecurity incident” caused a campus-wide outage, according to the university.

University officials said Friday afternoon that they didn’t have an estimate for when network access will be restored and provided little information about what caused the outage.

“We are working as quickly as possible,” said university spokeswoman Lauren Mulligan.

Mulligan said the incident on Tuesday blocked access to campus information technology systems and applications. 

“Our teams detected suspicious network activity, implemented our incident response protocols, and have engaged key partners, including third-party forensic specialists, who are working with us to investigate and resolve the issue. We have also notified law enforcement,” she said in an email.

Mulligan said the university’s IT staff are prioritizing getting systems online that students use, and the university is completing “a full forensic investigation.”

“We are in the very early stages of our investigation and are working to understand the full scope of the incident. Services, like access to the internet, are down but faculty are adapting and communicating with students so that classes are not interrupted,” she said. “As the university learns more about the full impact of this incident, we will be taking the appropriate steps to address it.”

This story was updated after Willamette University provided additional information.

This is a developing story. Students and employees, please help Salem Reporter accurately cover how campus life has been disrupted by the outage. Send your observations and experiences to Editor Les Zaitz at [email protected]

Contact reporter Ardeshir Tabrizian: [email protected] or 503-929-3053.

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Ardeshir Tabrizian has covered criminal justice and housing for Salem Reporter since September 2021. As an Oregon native, his award-winning watchdog journalism has traversed the state. He has done reporting for The Oregonian, Eugene Weekly and Malheur Enterprise.