Cybersecurity incident at NSF’s NOIRLab
Astronomical observations at the International Gemini Observatory suspended
1 August 2023
On the morning of 1 August 2023 NSF’s NOIRLab detected a cyber incident in its computer systems, forcing the suspension of astronomical observations at Gemini North in Hawai‘i. Quick reactions by the NOIRLab cyber security team and observing teams prevented damage to the observatory.
Out of an abundance of caution we have decided to isolate the Gemini Observatory computer systems by shutting them down. The Gemini website and proposal tools are currently offline but the NOIRLab website remains online. The Gemini North telescope was safely stowed in its zenith-pointing position, and the Gemini South telescope was in a planned shutdown for engineering work. Both telescopes will be closed while the NOIRLab IT team conducts its investigation and develops the recovery plan in consultation with NSF’s cyber specialists. There is currently no impact on other NOIRLab infrastructure. Our highest priorities are to safely and securely resume observations, as well as to understand and learn from this incident.
We are grateful for the support and quick action by the NOIRLab IT security team, the Gemini operations staff, and from our partners and the community.