Howard University hit with ransomware attack, cancels classes


WASHINGTON (WDVM) — Officials at Howard University have canceled classes on Tuesday, Sept. 7, after the university’s information technology team discovered a ransomware cyberattack.

Along with canceled classes, the physical campus will be open to essential employees only. Dining halls on campus will remain open.

The attack was detected on Sept. 3 as unusual activity on the university’s network. This detection led Enterprise Technology Services (E.T.S.) to shut down the network in order to investigate the situation.

Investigations into the cyberattack are ongoing. The university released a statement that said, “E.T.S. 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 statement goes on to say that the team at Howard is currently working with external forensic experts and law enforcement to continue the investigation and determine the impact of the attack. Investigators have not found evidence of personal information being accessed or exfiltrated, and are working to find exactly what information was accessed.

Campus Wi-Fi will remain down until IT determines the best and safest path to stand it up. Some applications are stored in the cloud and will remain active and accessible.  

Each day at 2 p.m., the university will announce the status of campus operations for the next day.

The statement from the university reads, “This is a moment in time for our campus when IT security will be at its tightest. We recognize that there has to be a balance between access and security; but at this point in time, the University’s response will be from a position of heightened security.”

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