Howard University Forced to Cancel Classes After Ransomware Attack

Image: courtesy of howarduniversity.edu

The prestigious HBCU was forced to cancel some classes after experiencing a recent ransomware attack.

According to a statement released by the school, all online and hybrid undergraduate classes are suspended for Wednesday. In-person classes will resume as scheduled.

The situation is still being investigated,” the statement read. “ETS and its partners have been working diligently to fully address this incident and restore operations as quickly as possible. We are currently working with leading external forensic experts and law enforcement to fully investigate the incident and the impact. To date, there has been no evidence of personal information being accessed or exfiltrated; however, our investigation remains ongoing, and we continue to work toward clarifying the facts surrounding what happened and what information has been accessed.”

“For the duration of our system assessment and repair effort, details on potential disruptions to courses or student service systems will be provided by email daily at approximately 2:00 p.m,” the statement continued. “Also, you will receive additional communications from ETS over the course of the next few days, especially surrounding phishing attempts and how to protect your data online beyond the Howard University community.”

Recently, ransomware attacks, where hackers attempt to steal or block access to critical information and extort owners for payments to return their information, have been on the rise in recent years. The hackers often target academic institutions, religious institutions, businesses, and governments.

On Friday, the university first noticed unusual activity on its network, which is a common time for hackers to operate due to the low volume of students and staff who are on the network on weekends.

Howard is working with the F.B.I. along with city officials; they are installing additional safety measures to protect the university’s data. After investigating the attack, an alternative Wi-Fi system will be set up and will be available today.

In a statement, the F.B.I. said that it was aware of the incident and is currently working with the university to rectify the situation. The investigation is still ongoing.

The university has confirmed that there has been no evidence that any personal information was compromised or stolen.

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