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Howard University suspends online classes after ransomware attack

Howard University suspended its online classes through Wednesday after falling victim to a ransomware attack earlier this month. Photo courtesy Howard University
Howard University suspended its online classes through Wednesday after falling victim to a ransomware attack earlier this month. Photo courtesy Howard University

Sept. 7 (UPI) -- Howard University canceled two days of online classes after experiencing a ransomware attack earlier this month.

The university issued a statement Tuesday announcing that all online and hybrid classes would remain suspended Wednesday as it works to deploy an alternative Wi-Fi system in response to the attack.

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In a statement Monday, the university said its information technology team detected unusual activity on its network and prompted IT service management company Enterprise Technology Services to shut down the network to investigate.

As a result of the shutdown, online and hybrid classes were suspended for Tuesday.

The investigation was ongoing Tuesday but the university said there has been "no evidence of personal information being accessed or exfiltrated" to date.

"We continue to work toward clarifying the facts surrounding what happened and what information has been accessed," the university said.

In addition to the cancelation of online classes, campus Wi-Fi was shut down until the alternative system is deployed.

In-person classes were set to resume as scheduled Wednesday and dining halls were open throughout the shutdown. The university also said it would extend the add/drop deadline for courses.

President Joe Biden last month described cybersecurity as a "core national security challenge" in a meeting with leaders from the private sector amid a surge in cyberattacks in the United States in recent years which have affected targets including critical oil pipelines and major meat processing plants.

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