University Cancels Exams After Cyber-Attack

Final examinations at the oldest technological research university in America have been canceled following a cyber-attack.

Much of the computer network of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) was forced to shut down after unauthorized access was detected on Friday. Student assessments, research, and other academic activities have been impacted.

On May 8, the Institute took to Instagram to share news of the attack, stating: “Rensselaer is investigating a trespass into our university network.

“We have temporarily suspended access to the network as we work with law enforcement and cybersecurity experts to determine the extent of the trespass.”

Students whose online exams were impacted by the attack were told that they would be accommodated.

On May 9, the Institute announced that because of the security incident, all final examinations, term papers, and project reports that were due in today and tomorrow had been canceled.

In a social media post, RPI said: “As you are likely aware, suspension of access to the Rensselaer network has impacted final exams, research, and other academic activities. 

“We are writing to communicate that all final exams and submissions (e.g., term papers, project reports) scheduled or due for Monday (May 10th) and Tuesday (May 11th) are cancelled.”

Staff at RPI are taking steps to ensure that students’ futures are not negatively affected by the attack.

“Modifications to grading polices designed to accommodate this disruption are being developed and will be communicated in due time,” said the Institute.

RPI did not share any further details of the incident such as what information may have been accessed. The institute has not shared when its network will be up and running again but stated yesterday that “information about exams scheduled for Wednesday (May 12th) will be forthcoming.”

Jesse Madrid, a junior at RPI, told Chron: “We started looking around and we couldn’t access anything—LMS (the Student Information System), our RPI email, anything.

“People were making jokes at first, but now it’s day three.”

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, which has around 7,900 students, is a private university sited in the city of Troy, New York. Information Technology and Web Science are among the academic disciplines taught at the Institute.