Howard University had to cancel Tuesday classes, as well as close its campus to those who aren't essential employees, after being the victim of a reported ransomware attack.
The university said that on Sept. 3, its information technology team detected "unusual activity on the university's network" and that while it is continuing to investigate the situation, "we know the university has experienced a ransomware cyberattack." Howard's network was "intentionally shut down" as the attack was investigated, and classes for Sept. 7 were canceled, a statement said.
Howard said there is no evidence that personal information was accessed in the attack, though it said it was continuing to investigate and is in contact with both the FBI and with city government in Washington, D.C.
"[Enterprise Technology Services] 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.
According to ABC News, the FBI received more than 2,000 ransomware complaints from January to July of this year, which represented a more than 60 percent increase since the same period the year before. A medical student at Howard told The Washington Post that due to the disruption from the attack, "I saw many Howard students on their laptops at coffee shops and anywhere else they can obtain WiFi" over the weekend. Howard says its campus WiFi will "remain down until we determine the best and safest path to stand it up."