CSIC is Spain’s largest public research institution and one of the most renowned in the European Research Area. It is affiliated with the Ministry of Science and Innovation through the Secretary General for Research.
According to its website, the institute promotes initiatives aimed at popularizing science, education and citizen science as part of its mission to “foster scientific culture and to make science more accessible for everybody.”
CSIC claimed that it had “multiple security mechanisms that prevent more than 260,000 registered attacks daily.” However, that didn’t prevent hackers from breaching its systems last month, according to a notice posted by the institute.
A Google-translated version of the announcement stated that, “The Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC), an organism dependent on the Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación, received a ransomware-type cyberattack on July 16 and 17.”
The attack was then first detected on July 18, prompting the institute to ask the Cyber Security Operations Center (COCS) and the National Cryptological Center (CCN) for assistance.
“In the absence of the final report from the investigation, the experts indicate that the origin of the cyberattack comes from Russia and indicate that, until now, no loss or theft of sensitive or confidential information has been detected,” added the institute. “This attack is similar to that suffered by other research centers such as the Max Planck Institute and the National Aeronautical and Space Administration of the United States (NASA).”
Only a quarter of the smaller science centers commanded by the CSIC are operating normally, which means that three-quarters of its scientific research facilities are still impacted by the attack. The CSIC said that it will take multiple days to fully restore all of its systems.