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26 Jun, 2022
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Ransomware Attack Closes Lincoln College

Lincoln College, located in rural Illinois, announced its permanent closure this month after 157 years of operation, citing financial strains caused by the coronavirus epidemic and a recent ransomware assault.

Lincoln College withstood several tragedies, including the 1912 fires, the Spanish flu, the Great Depression, World Wars, and the 2008 global financial crisis, demonstrating how impossible it was for them to “shut.”

Despite this, the December ransomware assault was the “straw that broke the camel’s back,” and Lincoln College opted to close on May 13, 2022, when it was unavoidable. The Illinois Department of Higher Education and the Higher Learning Commission have been notified of the decision, and their boards of directors have resolved to suspend all academic activity at the conclusion of the spring semester.

The Illinois institution, as initially reported by NBC, is one of just a few exclusively black rural American universities accredited by the training department.

“Lincoln College suffered a cyberattack in December 2021 that impeded admissions preparation and access to all institutional information, resulting in an unclear fall 2022 admissions prediction,” according to a statement on the school’s website.

“There was no access to any of the technologies required for recruiting, retention, or fundraising activities. Fortunately, no personal information was exposed.”

“Projections indicate a considerable under-enrollment after complete recovery in March 2022, needing endowments or other partnerships to support Lincoln through the semester.”

Lincoln College has served university students from all over the world for more than 157 years. The permanent closure of Lincoln College is a huge loss for history, the cause of education, and students and alumni.

– David Gerlach, Dean of Lincoln College

The Persistent Threat of Ransomware to Educational Institutions

While Lincoln College was the first to be forced to close due to a ransomware assault, it is only one of over 1,000 institutions that will be struck by ransomware in 2021, according to a forecast issued by Austrian cybersecurity firm Emsisoft.

According to Emsisoft, ransomware attacked 88 educational institutions in 2021, including 62 school districts and 26 universities, delaying teaching in 1,043 classrooms.

For years, ransomware attacks have posed a danger to education in the United States.

The United States Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) jointly warned in December 2020 that K-12 educational institutions, also known as elementary education in the United States, are being targeted for extortion and data theft by malicious actors.

The FBI Cyber Division issued a warning in March 2021 that the Pysa ransomware is increasingly targeting system administrators in educational institutions.

Multiple U.S. senators called on the U.S. Department of Education and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in November 2021 to boost K-12 school cybersecurity defenses in response to an impending large-scale cyberattack.

Conclusion

Although certain assaults are unavoidable, businesses should safeguard their data in advance to optimize data breach and cyberattack protection. Doing a good job in data recovery and protection shows that businesses care about themselves and their customers. There are currently several backup options available for enterprises and organizations, including VMware Backup, Hyper-V Backup, oVirt Backup, and others.

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