Cyber-attack left Knight Center’s websites down for two weeks
After a two-week hiatus following a massive cyber-attack, the websites of the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas and the International Symposium for Online Journalism are now back online. Both sites are now being updated to resume their normal activities. The Knight Center and the ISOJ will discontinue the provisional WordPress sites created for this emergency, utknightcenter.wordpress.com and isoj.wordpress.com.
“The malicious cyber-attack was enough to shut our websites down, but not to enough to shut us up. We rapidly created WordPress blogs to continue our regular and unique report on Journalism in the Americas,” said professor Rosental Alves, founder and director of the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas at the University of Texas at Austin.
“We have no idea why someone would want to attack our sites, but our engineers noticed that the origin of the cyber-attack was in computers located in Russia. We had to shut down the sites, while the University of Texas IT department conduct its work to clean the sites and make sure increase its security levels. We are happy to be back with our normal presence on the Web,” said professor Alves.
The two sites were attacked on Monday, March 11. They were placed under quarantine by the Information Technology department of the University of Texas at Austin, which hosts both sites. An IT services team ran several scans throughout the last two weeks and all site vulnerabilities have been remediated.
The Knight Center's team will work in the following days to move all blog posts and announcements from the provisional WordPress sites to the original ones.
The attack came in the time of the year when the International Symposium on Online Journalism's site is at its busiest, as the 14th edition of ISOJ will be held in less than a month, on April 19-20. The registration system for ISOJ was not affected by the attack, since it is located in another, secure server.
Fortunately, the distance learning program of the Knight Center was not affected either. Both our regular Distance Learning online courses and our MOOC (Massive Open Online Courses) section have been operating normally, as they are also located in other servers.