As per a statement released by Howard University on Monday, a ransomware attack forced it to cancel classes on Tuesday.
The school clarified that on Tuesday, September 3, the university’s technical team members spotted “unusual activity” on their network and turned it off to examine the matter. They subsequently acknowledged it as a ransomware attack but refused to disclose any information about the attackers.
The officials are still investigating the current situation. Moreover, ETS and its partners are working hard to completely resolve this problem and restore operations as fast as possible.
The university has reached out to law enforcement and is coordinating with forensic experts to resolve the situation. They deny any evidence of personal information leaks, but the inquiry is still underway.
The school had to cancel all classes on Tuesday to resolve the problem, and the campus is now only open to a few employees. Even the Wi-Fi on campus is down. Students will still be able to use some cloud apps, and they will continue to update students and teachers at 2 p.m. every day.
Howard University is the latest major academic institution to be attacked by ransomware. It has contacted the FBI and the D.C. city government and is implementing extra security measures to keep the university and personal information secure from illegal ciphering. ETS will communicate every new update relevant to the incident.
In the past few years, ransomware attacks on educational institutions have increased significantly. According to Emsisoft researchers, effective ransomware attacks against the education sector increased by 388% between the 2nd and 3rd quarters of 2020.
George Moody and Rebecca Moody, researchers at Comparitech, discovered that at least 222 ransomware attacks had affected 3,880 schools and institutions since 2018. They explain that ransomware attacks have caused an estimated 1,387 days of downtime for schools and universities, with about 9,525 days spent on recovery procedures. Twenty-two schools/colleges disclosed the amount spent on their recovery efforts, with a total of approximately $19.2 million spent.