According to a spokesperson for North Carolina Central University, the school had received a warning of the attack on its systems on November 12.
“Certain systems, including the campus Wi-Fi network and [school portal] MyEOL began to experience some disruptions to normal operations. Other critical systems continue to be operational. Following the initial stages of the investigation into this alert, we can confirm that NCCU has experienced a cyberintrusion,” stated a notice sent out to faculty and staff.
“Certain services have been taken offline to contain the intrusion. Key partners at the UNC System Office, North Carolina Department of Information Technology, Joint Communications Task Force, FBI, U.S. Secret Service and other partners have been activated to investigate and respond,” it read.
Located in Durham, the university is a historically black institution with around 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students.
On being asked by Recorded Future News whether the school’s systems are suffering a ransomware attack, the spokesperson did not comment, however, said that in an effort to contain the situation, their IT team will “temporarily shut down all critical systems requiring logins with NCCU credentials,” including access to Canvas, Outlook 365, the Wi-Fi network and campus portal.
Moreover, all online courses will be discontinued until further notice, while in-person sessions will still be offered.
In the latest string of attacks, hackers have targeted numerous HBCUs and colleges with sizable minority enrollments, with NCCU being the most recent on the list. Due to long-standing funding imbalances that make it difficult to afford the kind of network security required to protect student and faculty information, universities including Florida International University, Xavier University of Louisiana, Tennessee State University, Southeastern Louisiana University, Howard University, and more have been targeted.
In recent weeks, a number of other institutions and universities have alerted the public of cyberattacks. More than 25,000 students attend Glendale Community College, and the college revealed this week that ransomware had infected its campuses.
The cyberattacks have coerced the school into taking down its online systems, removing student access to the campus WiFi, the online class schedule, and several systems for school employees. Also, financial aid processes, like the disbursement of funds to students’ accounts, have been disrupted.
According to the school newspaper, the hack began on November 10, with recovery still in progress. To date, no hacking group has taken responsibility for the attack.