Ransomware Attack Hits Washington Adventist University

Washington Adventist University in Takoma Park said it was hit by a ransomware attack Saturday, according to an announcement posted on the school’s website.

On-campus internet access, as well as Wi-Fi, network printing, and other services will be unavailable until further notice. Those living off-campus should be unaffected, according to the announcement.

The full announcement is below:

“Washington Adventist University experienced a ransomware attack last night, October 2nd, 2021. Our Information Technology Services identified the attack after 11 pm Saturday evening and is currently in communication with Montgomery County Cyber Taskforce, and the FBI to resolve this situation.

“The situation continues to be investigated. WAU wishes to inform our community in regards to this urgent matter and respond as safely as possible as not to further cause any damage. As always, the highest priority on our campus is the health and safety of our campus community. As with any attack of this nature, data may have been exposed. WAU will be working with forensic experts to identify what may have been accessed.

“This is a situation that requires many professionals, experts, and institutions to properly work through the details and coordinate for the best outcome. There is a balance that has to be reached between access and security. The timeline therefore may be incremental rather than an overnight solution.

“For all on-campus residents, faculty, and staff we know this will have a greater effect. Wifi and internet access from the campus will not be available until further notice. This attack will also restrict access to Network Printers, Ellucian or Datatel, OurWAU and MyWAU (Intranet), WebAdvisor, digital signage, electronic point of service machines in both the Bookstore and Dining Hall. Our WAU Cashier’s Window will be restricted in its abilities and the Library services that require internet will not be available.

“The attack will not, however, force the university to close. WAU will be open for in-person classes on Monday, October 4th, 2021, this includes all zoom platform classes. All faculty and staff are asked to adjust to the current situation in light of a need to continue teaching and pursuing the highest education that WAU provides.

“All projection systems for powerpoints, labs, Mondopad in the Nursing Department, photocopying, phone systems, and facility controls should be unaffected by the attack.

“For those who are living off-campus, access to email, D2L, EAB portals to CRM, Zoom, and applications such as Turn-it-in, Grammarly, and others should be unaffected.

“Again, WAU’s highest priority is the health and safety of our campus community. This includes peace of mind. President Spence will hold an in-person Town Hall meeting TONIGHT at 8 pm in the Chapel of Halycon Hall to offer information that is available at this early stage. WAU Communications will plan to send an update each day or at a greater frequency to keep our campus informed. Watch for texts, app posts, and emails (where available) for news, updates, and information.

“If you do not already receive our WAU Alert Texts, please Text WAUALERT to 888777. Messaging rates apply. Information will also be sent through the WAU App.

“We ask for your prayers, patience, and support as we work towards long-term and short-term solutions to this vicious attack. In accordance with our Spirit of Community, we will be stronger [through] this.”

Photo: “Cryptolocker ransomware” by Christiaan Colen is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

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