Howard University cancels classes after ransomware attack

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Howard University, where classes were canceled following a ransomware attack (Josh / WikkiCommons)

Online and hybrid courses at Howard University were suspended until a suspect ransomware attack on the 154-year-old institution in Washington DC is investigated.

University officials learned of an attack on Friday, when its IT team detected “unusual activity” and shut down several online systems, as well as campus WiFi, for the National Day weekend. Job.

He confirmed in a announcement that he had been the target of a “cyber ransomware attack,” and told students that classes at the university were canceled on Tuesday. WiFi remained non-operational.

Online classes were also canceled on Wednesday, the university noted in a subsequent update, and confirmed that he was investigating the cyberattack with the FBI. An alternative WiFi system was being put in place, he added.

“Based on the investigation to date, we know that the disruption to the service was caused by a ransomware cyber attack on the university,” the statement told the students on Monday. “We are currently working with external forensic experts and law enforcement to thoroughly investigate the cause and impact.”

The university said on Tuesday that there was “no evidence of access to personal information” and that “our investigation is ongoing.”

Another update is expected Wednesday afternoon, given Thursday’s classes. In a previous announcement, officials told students that restoring Wi-Fi and online classes was “a long road – not an overnight fix.”

The Howard University campus remains closed to non-essential employees, and in-person classes were able to resume Wednesday, although some online learning materials were unavailable.

It follows warnings from the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security of ransomware cyber attacks against educational institutions in July, such as CNN reported.

Ransomware attacks on schools in July averaged 853 per week, according to private researchers at Checkpoint search, which reported a 29% increase in attacks compared to the first half of 2021.

Similar incidents have seen institutions forced to pay ransom fees or information stolen from systems leaked. It has become more common as schools and universities turn to distance online learning because of Covid.

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