Several colleges and K-12 schools face outages after cyberattacks


Several K-12 schools, colleges and universities are facing significant technology outages this week due to cyberattacks.

A spokesperson for North Carolina Central University told Recorded Future News that the school was alerted to a cyberattack on its campus technology systems on the morning of November 12.

“Some systems, including the campus Wi-Fi network and (school portal) MyEOL, have begun to experience disruptions to normal operations. Other critical systems continue to operate. Following the initial stages of investigating this alert, we can confirm that NCCU suffered a cyberintrusion,” they said in a statement sent to faculty and staff.

“Some services were taken offline to contain the intrusion. Key partners from the UNC System Office, North Carolina Department of Information Technology, Joint Communications Task Force, FBI, U.S. Secret Service and other partners were mobilized to investigate and respond.

The school is a historically black university based in Durham, serving nearly 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students.

The spokesperson did not respond to requests for comment on whether it was a ransomware attack, but said that in an effort to contain the situation, its IT team “will temporarily shut down all systems reviews requiring logins with NCCU credentials,” including access to Canvas, Outlook 365, Wi-Fi, and the campus portal.

In-person classes will continue to be taught but all online classes will be suspended until further notice. No hacker group took credit for the attack.

NCCU is the latest in a string of HBCUs and schools with large minority populations that have been targeted by hackers in recent years. Schools like Howard University, Xavier University of Louisiana, Tennessee State UniversitySoutheastern Louisiana University, North Carolina A&T University, Florida International University and others were targeted due to long-standing financing imbalances This makes it difficult to ensure the type of network security needed to protect student and faculty information.

Cynthia Warrick, president of Stillman College, spoke this week at the Aspen Cyber ​​Summit about a 2017 ransomware attack that forced the school to effectively rebuild its entire network from scratch.

Several other colleges and universities have informed the public about cyberattacks in recent weeks. Glendale Community College – whose campuses serve more than 25,000 students – confirmed this week that it was the victim of ransomware.

The attack forced the school to take its systems offline, removing student access to campus WiFi, the online class schedule and several systems for school employees.

Financial aid processes, including disbursement of funds into student accounts, have been paused until further notice, the school said. said.

The school newspaper explain that the hack began on November 10 and recovery efforts are progressing.

K-12 Breakdowns

Several elementary and secondary schools in the United States have been hit by ransomware gangs or suffered outages due to cyberattacks. North Muskegon Michigan Public Schools was forced to cancel school Wednesday, noting that its technical department was working with its insurance company’s cybersecurity team to resolve the incident.

“We do not have phones or internet and want to ensure this investigation can be carried out without interruption as time is of the essence. We are sorry for this unforeseen inconvenience to our families,” they said. said.

In follow-up messages released Wednesday and Thursday, school officials said email systems and platforms students use to submit assignments were still not working.

“Currently, our system is still compromised. We are working diligently with digital forensics experts to resolve the issue, but we want to be transparent about the ongoing challenges,” they said. said.

“Our security devices, including telephone systems, public address systems, fire alarms and door security, are always active and operating effectively… We actively collaborate with forensic experts, forensic attorneys, law enforcement local and national authorities, as well as with the FBI. »

Several other schools in the United States said they were coordinating with the FBI on cyberattacks that impacted operations. Henry County Atlanta Superintendent of Schools notified of an incident in a YouTube message to parents this week and to Oregon’s Beaverton School District was also affected by a cybersecurity incident.

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Jonathan Greig

Jonathan Greig is a breaking news reporter at Recorded Future News. Jonathan has worked as a journalist around the world since 2014. Before returning to New York, he worked for media outlets in South Africa, Jordan and Cambodia. He previously covered cybersecurity at ZDNet and TechRepublic.

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