A Ransomware Attack Permanently Shut Down A College

Late this month, students and faculty would be ushered out of an institution that debuted the same year the American Civil War concluded. At a time when Lincoln College was already suffering, authorities pointed fingers at a ransomware attack as the cause of the institution’s problems.

Lincoln University, founded in 1865 and home to a Black student body, shut its doors on May 13. The rural institution in Illinois has been experiencing economic difficulties as a result of Covid-19’s effect on recruitment and funding. According to the Chicago Tribune, an assault by a cyber group in December dealt the last blow to the institution. The group’s hack encrypted vital information, rendering it harder for officials to conduct “enrollment, retention, as well as fund-raising initiatives,” according to a notice lately posted on the school’s website.


The Reason

Because of a breach in December 2021, the aforementioned College was unable to accept new students or view any of its records, clouding estimates for the next Autumn 2022 semester. According to the administrative notes, all tools necessary for recruiting, training, and financing activities remained down. If you can’t accept submissions or attract new pupils, none of those things will be possible. As EdScoop reported in April, the institution’s director David Gerlach emphasized the impact the assault had on recruiting operations, saying they were shut down for a full two weeks.

Students at the institution have been organizing and holding fundraisers in an attempt to keep it open. The latest activity on GoFundMe indicates that the target amount of $20,000,000 may be reached. On Monday, just 19 people contributed a maximum of $1,252.


Threats using ransomware against schools have been progressively common. Universities are ideal pickings for cybercriminals because they retain a wealth of sensitive data about their students, including names, addresses, Social Security numbers, and monetary details. According to data collected by cybersecurity company Emsisoft, 1,043 educational institutions, including 26 universities, fell victim to ransomware in 2017.