Forty-eight days after suspending observations due to a cyberattack, the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) is observing the sky again. The computing staff has worked diligently to rebuild the affected observatory’s computer system servers and services. This is a crucial milestone in the recovery process.
On 29 October, ALMA suffered a cyberattack. The computing staff took immediate countermeasures to avoid loss and damage to scientific data and IT infrastructure. The attack affected various critical operational servers and computers.
“The challenge was to securely restore all the communication and computer systems as quickly as possible. We established an aggressive plan that required coordination with the ALMA partnership worldwide,” explains Jorge Ibsen, Head of the ALMA Computing Department. “Thanks to the active engagement of everyone in the collaboration, especially the Computing, Engineering, and Science Operations staff, and the cybersecurity experts from ESO, NAOJ, and NRAO, we managed to be observing as planned.”
In the coming weeks, the focus will be on recovering testing infrastructure and systems like the ALMA website and other services, which will allow the recovery of all the functionalities existing before the cyberattack.
ALMA Director, Sean Dougherty, celebrates that: “It is fantastic to be back doing science observations once again! It has been an enormous challenge to rebuild our systems to return to observing securely. Thanks to everyone at the JAO and across the ALMA partnership for attaining this impressive milestone.”