[23.12.2022] Holiday Greetings from the Rectorate

Dear Students, Dear Colleagues, Dear Friends of the University of Duisburg-Essen,

the Rectorate wishes you all the best for the holiday season. We hope you will have an enjoyable and relaxing time with friends and family. For the New Year 2023 our wishes are for more peace and fewer crises to manage, and for the continuation of the UDE´s exciting progress as it enters its twentieth year.

Yingyaipumi – stock.adobe.com

The current situation of course is still marked by the cyber-attack of nearly four weeks ago. We remain optimistic and productive, though under more difficult conditions than we would like. The entire university community is exerting tremendous effort to recover our digitally networked environment. The University of Duisburg-Essen had reached a very high degree of digitalization and we will do so again.

Through the attack on a significant segment of our central infrastructure during the night of November 26-27 the systems connected to the central identity and access management were encrypted at the storage system level. Fortunately, a large part of our user and application data was not affected by the encryption and the prospects for recovery are strong. A full examination of the data is ongoing and will take time. We have chosen a cautious restart approach. Although at present the university cannot be reached through the Internet, internal services, as you know, can again be used from within the campus network.

A priority has been the university-wide password reset. In parallel, the firewall is being rebuilt. We are moving closer to being able to provide services via the Internet. The significant destruction of our central IT infrastructure has necessitated a complete rebuild. This costs us time. The university Information and Media Services (ZIM) is working around-the-clock to implement the prioritized measures, which will restore operational capacities in research, teaching, and administration.

The library remains open over the next weeks. Also, access to electronic literature has been enabled on-site and through VPN-connection from outside the university. The Moodle platform remains accessible, currently only from within the UDE network, but also soon from outside. We are doing everything possible to ensure that students’ upcoming examinations will run smoothly and successfully, also with an eye to examination preparation. We are focusing now on making our electronic examination and event management system accessible soon. The file servers where much of our research data is stored may be accessible as soon as the end of January. We will continue to post news about our recovery on this website.

We wish to thank everyone for their assistance, confidence, participation, patience, and perseverance. In a time when we are greatly concerned about people in the Ukraine, when women in Afghanistan are forbidden to study at universities, when many of us are still trying to catch up and compensate for losses suffered during the Corona pandemic, when we are called on to save energy (costs) and much more, in such a time an aggressive criminal attack on data, infrastructure and our working environment strikes as a hard blow. Your resilience in these last weeks demonstrates our capacity to face this additional challenge with courage and vigor. We are confident that we will overcome this crisis, not least of all thanks to the enormous efforts of ZIM and many other units, but also thanks to our enormous research competence in computer and information sciences.

This year was not only about crises. The year 2022 was marked by a return to university campus life. We again enjoyed studying, working, and celebrating together in presence. We were happy to celebrate the foundation of the Research Alliance Ruhr with our neighboring universities TU Dortmund and Ruhr-Universität Bochum, strongly supported and funded by the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. Consequently, the Ruhr University Alliance Ruhr has grown more integrated and become more impactful. We are preparing jointly for the Excellence Strategy competition. For these efforts the UDE is generating strong contributions. Further highlights in 2022 included the acquisition of several new joint research endeavors, including the Research Training Groups RTG 2803 “Scalable 2D Material Architectures,” RTG 2762 “Heterogeneity, Plasticity and Reply Dynamics of Cancer Cells, Tumor- and Normal Tissues to Therapeutic Radiation,” and of new and renewed funding for the projects “Future Ukraine” and “Academy in Exile.” There are many more achievements we could report, but then this letter would become excessively long. You will hear from us soon again!

Your Rectorate wishes you a good start in the new year!