College cyberattack recovery continues

By Gabriel Lucich

Managing Editor

College administrators don’t believe “bad actors,” who led a cyber attack on the college,  got ahold of any critical data. On Monday, Jan. 29, college leadership held another Zoom conference to update staff and faculty about a hack that shut down college operations for days.

A week after the college canceled three days of classes due to a cyber attack, employees and students had slowly regained access to email, the online course system Moodle and financial aid disbursements.

“It’s been one heck of a week,” said CCC President Tim Cook. “We’re getting through this, and we’re getting through it really well, though we have a long way to go.”

Head of IT systems, Saby Waraich, asked if anyone in the meeting knew how long it typically takes to recover access to systems after a data breach. Waraich waited through several wrong answers before giving the number – 24 days. After our breach, most basic systems were restored in one week.

“Within a few days we were able to get access to our data, which is an amazing feat,” Waraich said. “The big thing is, our internet, our Wi-Fi, our ability to log in to Moodle or any other application has been pretty successful.”

“We’re in a really good place, but it’s a long journey,” Waraich said. “It takes a long time to get back to where we were previously. Have patience and have grace to make sure we come back safe. He added, “The investigation is ongoing, and we are reasonably confident that no sensitive data was accessed.”

Vice president of finance and operations, Jeff Shaffer, said the college hasn’t paid out any money to the cyber attackers.

“We haven’t paid a ransom,” Shaffer said. “It appears as if they’re not in possession of much data. They (the hackers) haven’t thrown out a number (ransom amount), so it seems that we’re at a stalemate and the hackers are playing cat and mouse.”

Tara Sprehe, dean of academic foundations and connections, said the college is changing protocols to help students and staff.

“The deadline for students to withdraw from classes with a refund has been extended to Feb 2,” she said.

Dean of business services, Christina Owen, said financial aid disbursements and employee payroll would be deposited this week with physical checks experiencing slight delays and that the college’s Colleague system was partially back online. College employees will also be receiving paychecks this week, as the timecard portion of the school’s system was restored as well.

Winter term class requirements are still being reworked by faculty, as the timeline has changed due to winter storms and technology related delays  that shut down classes. Many classes will add one class session to finals week to make up for time lost to the delays.

 

Gabriel Lucich

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