Campus News

UK Cybersecurity Threat Countered

aerial photo of UK's campus

LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 9, 2020) —  The University of Kentucky Information Technology Services unit has been working diligently to address a recently discovered cyber threat to UK's technical infrastructure. The work culminated in UK's and UK HealthCare's technology systems being taken offline for a few hours in the early morning hours of Sunday, March 8.  The threat was successfully countered, and Sunday morning the following message was sent to members of the UK community.

Campus Community:

Recently, we became aware of a specific cyber threat to our technical infrastructure. We immediately initiated an internal investigation, charging a team — which has been working around the clock since that time — with addressing this issue. 

  Of course, our first priority was, and always will be, the safety of our community.

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.

  When we became aware of the threat’s potential impact on our systems, we elicited the assistance of an independent forensic firm and implemented additional security measures in consultation with cybersecurity experts. We initiated a process of hardening our security systems that protect our technical infrastructure — a process we will continuously monitor and strengthen moving forward.

  A significant step in this procedure involved a short, planned network outage that took place earlier this morning, which we communicated overnight. Per the advice of our cybersecurity partners, it was necessary to limit the information provided in this initial communication. Now that the network has been restored and more aggressive security measures have been implemented, we can communicate with full transparency without risk of sacrificing the security of our systems.

  More details about this incident and background regarding how this happened are available here. We will update this webpage as more information becomes available, and we will communicate fully with the campus and broader community if any significant changes occur. Additionally, you can email  or call this toll-free number with any questions: 1-833-510-0030.

For technical questions, please call 859-218-4357. For questions related to UK HealthCare, please call 1-800-333-8874.

Our cybersecurity partners are confident in our response, and we will continue to consult with them over the next several months. As always, the security of our community will remain our top priority.

  Eli Capilouto, President David W. Blackwell, Provost Eric N. Monday, Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration Dr. Mark F. Newman, Executive Vice President for Health Affairs