Howard University
(Eric Glenn/Shutterstock)

Howard University Forced To Shut Down Classes After Being Hit With Ransomware Attack

Businesses and hospitals aren’t the only ones getting hit with ransomware attacks in recent months. In a disturbing new trend, academic institutions also appear to be at risk, as officials at Howard University recently found out.

Kevin Collier of NBC News reported that “Howard University, one of the largest historically Black schools in the United States, canceled classes on Tuesday (Sept. 7) after a ransomware attack.”

According to Collier, “The attack shut down the campus Wi-Fi, and nonessential employees were instructed to not report to work.”

Allan Liska, an analyst at the cybersecurity company Recorded Future, told NBC that at least 19 colleges and universities had been hit with ransomware attacks in 2021 alone — and the threat appears to be growing increasingly imminent for other institutions as well. 

“Criminal hackers use ransomware to break into a victim’s computer networks to lock up files on as many computers as possible and then ask for money for a code to restore them,” Collier said. “Many ransomware hackers also threaten to publish files they’ve stolen in the effort.”

Fortunately, Howard University representatives said there was “no evidence of personal information being accessed or exfiltrated.” However, the investigation into the breach is still ongoing and could take weeks or even months to fully assess the breach.

School officials said they first noticed signs of a potential problem on the Friday leading into the long Labor Day holiday weekend. Experts say it’s a common tactic for hackers to initiate these attacks leading into weekends or holidays because their targets are understaffed and less likely to have the resources needed to quickly stop the software attack.

Federal law enforcement is currently investigating the attack on the school. As of Tuesday, campus Wi-Fi was still down and online classes were canceled until at least Thursday, with in-person classes expected to resume Wednesday.

Related: For more recent diversity and inclusion news, click here.


Latest News

Facebook logo

Facebook Forced To Pay a Record $14-Million Settlement for Discriminating Against US Workers

October continues to be a month Facebook likely wishes it could forget. First came Frances Haugen, the whistleblower who explained in chilling detail how the site and its algorithms are designed to profit off what she called “the spread and amplification of hate, misinformation and political unrest.” Then there was…

AbbVie’s ‘Ability’ Employee Resource Group on How the Company Champions People With Seen and Unseen Disabilities

Originally published at AbbVie ranked No. 15 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.   In the sixth of a seven-part Employee Resource Group (ERG) series, we’re shining the spotlight on Ability at AbbVie. This group focuses on advocacy and inclusion, uniting employees with disabilities,…

United States Capitol Building

More Than 300 Black Congressional Staffers Decry Lack of Diversity on Capitol Hill; Challenge Lawmakers To ‘Do Better’

Regardless of which party is in power at any given time, people of color continue to be woefully underrepresented in not just elected office but also within support roles working for those lawmakers. And now, hundreds of these staffers are speaking out about what they call an “appalling” lack of…