HomeTechnologyNewsLincoln College to close after 157 years due to ransomware attack

Lincoln College to close after 157 years due to ransomware attack


Lincoln College, a liberal arts college in rural Illinois, says it will close its doors at the end of this month, 157 years since its founding and after a brutal hit to its finances from the COVID-19 pandemic and a recent ransomware attack.

This decision was made even more difficult as the university survived multiple disasters, including a great fire in 1912, the Spanish flu, the Great Depression, World Wars, and the global financial crisis of 2008.

However, a ransomware attack in December was the straw that broke the camel’s back for the decision to shut down on May 13, 2022, one that simply couldn’t be avoided.

The school has notified the Illinois Department of Higher Education and the Higher Learning Commission of this incoming permanent closure, and its Board of Directors has already voted to cease all academic activity at the end of the spring semester.

This Illinois liberal arts school is one of the few rural American colleges that the Department of Education has rated as a predominantly black institution, as NBC first reported.

“Lincoln College was the victim of a cyber attack in December 2021 that thwarted admissions activities and hampered access to all institutional data, creating an unclear picture of Fall 2022 enrollment projections,” an announcement read. posted on the university website.

“All systems required for recruitment, retention and fundraising efforts were not working. Fortunately, no personally identifiable information was exposed.”

“Once fully restored in March 2022, projections showed significant enrollment shortfalls, requiring a transformative gift or partnership to sustain Lincoln College beyond the current semester.”

Lincoln College has been serving students from around the world for more than 157 years. The loss of history, careers, and a community of students and alumni is immense. -David Gerlach, President of Lincoln College

Ransomware: A Constant Threat to Educational Organizations

Although tragic and the first school closure caused by a ransomware attack, Lincoln College is just one of more than 1,000 schools affected by ransomware last year, according to a report by Emsisoft.

Eighty-eight educational organizations were directly affected by ransomware last year according to Emsisoft, including 62 school districts and the campuses of 26 colleges and universities across the country, disrupting learning at 1,043 individual schools.

Although the number is lower than the previous year (when 1,681 educational institutions were attacked), this is mainly because such attacks affected smaller school districts in 2021.

Ransomware attacks have been a constant threat to education in the US for years. A joint notice from CISA and the FBI warned in December 2020 that K-12 educational institutions were being targeted by malicious actors for extortion and data theft.

Three months later, in March 2021, the FBI Cyber ​​Division warned that system administrators at educational institutions were increasingly being targeted by Pysa ransomware.

In November, a call to action from several US senators asked the US Department of Education and the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to strengthen cybersecurity defenses in K-12 schools across the country to stay safe. up with a massive wave of incoming attacks.

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