ALMA resumes surveillance after cyberattack

(ORDO NEWS) — Forty-eight days after the suspension of observations due to a cyberattack, the Atakama Large Millimeter Wave [Antenna] Array (ALMA) is again observing the sky.

The staff worked diligently to restore the damaged servers and services of the computer system. This is a critical milestone in the recovery process.

On October 29, ALMA was cyberattacked. Countermeasures were immediately taken to avoid loss and damage to scientific data and IT infrastructure. The attack affected various critical operational servers and computers.

“The goal was to securely restore all communication and computer systems as quickly as possible. We developed an aggressive plan that required coordination with the ALMA partnership around the world,” explains Jorge Ibsen, Head of Computing at ALMA.

“Thanks to the active participation of our partners around the world, especially from the Computing, Engineering and Science Operations departments, as well as cybersecurity experts from ESO, NAOJ and NRAO, we were able to conduct observations as planned.”

In the coming weeks, the focus will be on restoring the testing infrastructure and systems, such as the ALMA website and other services, to restore all functionality that existed before the cyber attack.

ALMA director Sean Dougherty notes: “It’s fantastic to be doing scientific observations again. Rebuilding our systems to return to secure surveillance has been a huge undertaking.

Thank you to all JAO staff and the entire ALMA partnership for achieving this impressive milestone.”

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