Ransomware Attack Takes DC-Area University Offline, Including Its Digital Signage Network

October 5, 2021 by Dave Haynes

A DC-area university is in the midst of a ransomware attack that has taken down just about anything network-connected around the campus, including the digital signage network that might otherwise let students and faculty know what’s going on.

Washington Adventist University was hit Saturday night and, by the absence of an update on the college website, is still down. The school has involved the area’s Cyber Taskforce and the FBI to step in.

The situation continues to be investigated, says the university in a press announcement. 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 school was able to hold classes Monday.

Ugly. Stating the obvious, take security seriously.

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