Howard University, one of the top black colleges and universities in the country’s history, canceled some classes for a second day after it was hit by ransomware.
According to a university statement, all online and college combined classes are suspended on Wednesday. All in-person classes in Washington will continue as scheduled.
The university suspended classes on Tuesday after shutting down the network to investigate the attack. An alternative Wi-Fi system will be set up but will not be available tomorrow, according to the statement.
The US has seen a rise in ransomware attacks in recent years as hackers lock down networks and demand payment to get users back. They have attacked not only educational institutions but also hospitals, pipelines, private companies, grocery stores and local governments.
James A. Lewis, a cybersecurity researcher at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said hacking attempts at schools and universities are common, as many people don’t have the means to do so. Install sophisticated security measures. Cybersecurity has become a growing concern for school districts, especially since they hold so much personal data.
“They scan the globe for easy targets and if there’s a loophole they can exploit, they don’t care who you are,” Mr Lewis said. “You can be the Vatican and they will take advantage of you. This is all money.”
White House officials warned organizations about ransomware attacks ahead of Labor Day, though they said they had no specifics about the potential threats.
“In the past, during the weekends, attackers sometimes focused on security operations centers that might be understaffed or had the feeling that it was,” said Anne Neuberger, deputy national security adviser. there are fewer key personnel on duty,” said Anne Neuberger, deputy national security adviser, at a September 2 news conference.
The network was down after Howard’s information technology team detected unusual activity on Friday. Howard said it was working to get it back up and running, but it wasn’t a “quick fix”.
The university will suspend Wi-Fi until the university can determine “the best and most secure route to maintaining it,” the university said.
Howard is working with the FBI and city officials and installing additional safety measures to protect university data. The FBI said in a statement that it was aware of the incident and was working with the university but had no further comment. The city of Washington did not respond to a request for comment.
There is no evidence that any personal information has been recovered or stolen, but the investigation is still ongoing, according to the statement. More than 11,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional students are enrolled at the school, according to the school’s website.