Universiteit Leiden

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External webserver: data breach

5 July 2021

Over the past few days, various reports have appeared in the media about one of Leiden University’s external webservers being hacked. We can imagine our students and staff are concerned. This is to inform you of what we know so far.

An external web server of the Leiden University Observatory was hacked earlier this year and an amount of data stolen. This consisted of research findings and researchers’ email addresses, which were offered for sale on the dark web. The Dutch Data Protection Authority (DPA) and the students and staff concerned have been notified of the incident, a data breach, and the external web server has been shut down.

As data was once again published on the dark web on 28 June, the university has arranged for an external forensic investigation into this suspected second data breach. This has shown that the data recently published on the dark web that the media reported about over the past few days is the same data as was published there in January 2021. It is therefore a new upload of previously stolen data. No encrypted data or traces of hacks were found in the forensic investigation. 

We will provide further information if the external forensic investigation gives us cause to do so.

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