Howard University canceled classes and shut down campus WiFi after a ransomware attack

Howard University canceled classes and shut down campus WiFi after a ransomware attack

  • Howard University canceled classes Tuesday due to a ransomware attack. 
  • The attack occurred on September 3, prompting the school’s IT department to shut down its network. 
  • It canceled online and hybrid classes for Wednesday but said in-person courses would resume.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Officials at Howard University in Washington, DC, canceled classes Tuesday and limited instruction for Wednesday after its systems were hit by a

attack last week. 

“The situation is still being investigated, but we are writing to provide an interim update and to share as much information as we safely and possibly can at this point in time, considering that our emails are often shared within a public domain,” Howard officials said in a letter to the Howard community Monday.

Officials at Howard did not immediately return Insider’s request for comment Tuesday afternoon.

“Based on the investigation and the information we have to date, we know the University has experienced a ransomware cyberattack,” the university said in the letter authored by Tashni-Ann Dubroy, Howard’s executive vice president and chief operating officer, and Anthony K. Wutoh, the university’s provost and chief academic officer.

Howard’s Enterprise Technology Services shut down access to its network to “mitigate potential criminal activity” after the attack was discovered on September 3, the letter said. Officials announced Tuesday afternoon that remote or hybrid classes would be suspended again Wednesday while in-person classes would resume.

Howard officials said Tuesday they did not believe any personal information had been “accessed or exfiltrated” in the attack and said they were working to create a secondary WiFi network for students and faculty while the main network remained offline. The network would not be ready for classes Wednesday, the university said.

The closure came just two weeks after the fall semester began on August 23. Howard University is the latest in a series of US institutions to become victim to the rise of ransomware attacks

The largest and most disruptive attack this year occurred when cybercriminals targeted Colonial Pipeline, sending gas prices soaring and creating a gas shortage on the East Coast. A number of smaller attacks have occurred at smaller institutions in the US, like hospitals and public school systems.

“ETS and its partners have been working diligently to fully address this incident and restore operations as quickly as possible; but please consider that remediation, after an incident of this kind, is a long haul – not an overnight solution,” the university said.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.