UK officials fight back after cyber-attack

Published: Mar. 8, 2020 at 3:13 PM EDT
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UK officials are calling it the biggest cyber-attack in the university's history. The University planned a network outage early Sunday morning. President Eli Capilouto later sent an email to students and faculty to outline the threat and explain how it was handled.

Anicah Smith says she was initially confused about what was happening. "They were just telling us that Canvas and myUK might be down today, but they didn't really say anything about who it was or where it was coming from or if they had gotten any of our information."

University officials announced the reboot was a major step to secure its network after hackers threatened the system for about a month, affecting both the university and UK Healthcare.

WKYT reached out to UK spokesperson Jay Blanton, who said the threats came from outside of the country. He said hackers were cultivating cryptocurrency and targeted the university because of its powerful processing capabilities. Blanton went on to say the attack only slowed down systems and computers, and no patient or student information was accessed.

Some students, like Emily Haehnel, say they’re still worried about what information the hackers could have. "My data and everything is all on my phone and here at the university," Haehnel said.

The University is assuring students that after the reboot, the system is secure. An independent forensic firm was hired to help tighten security and to prevent this from happening again.

Alex Bascom says he’s confident with the measures that have been taken. "I think the University has it all under control and we'll be alright."

UK is offering additional details about the incident. You can visit the

, email or call this toll-free number with any questions: 1-833-510-0030.


Below is a statement issued by Jay Blanton, UK Spokesperson:

“The University of Kentucky has become aware of a specific cyber threat to our technical infrastructure and has taken substantive steps to address the issue. At a high level, those steps included hardening our systems, initiating an internal investigation with the assistance of an independent forensic firm and implementing additional security measures in consultation with cybersecurity experts. Understanding that our review is ongoing, and based on the consultation of outside experts, we have no evidence to date that any personal health information or other sensitive data, such as personal student or employee data, has been downloaded or accessed. The process of hardening our security systems that protect the technical infrastructure is ongoing. As we have more information about this issue, we will communicate fully with the campus and broader community.” – Jay Blanton