Students and staff were recently made aware of a ransomware attack that affected Lewis & Clark Community College in Godfrey, Illinois. The director of technology at Lewis & Clark noticed abnormal events happening within the system, which led to further investigation. It was found that the attackers had gained access to the network, but never gained the full control they were seeking. These findings subsequently caused the college to shut down all operations, including sporting events and after school activities. Shortly after the shutdown, a ransom request for an undisclosed amount of money was received via email. The fall semester at Lewis & Clark is only weeks out from being over, so an event like this at the time it occurred really caused issues for students and staff prepping for end of semester assignments. The FBI and local law enforcement were both notified, and the school’s president said a third-party cybersecurity company will be working with them to better their protection efforts moving forward.
To minimize the effect of ransomware attacks, organizations should regularly perform data backups and keep secure copies offline. It is also important to keep systems and anti-virus software up to date with patches. A 24/7 monitoring solution, such as the one that is offered by Binary Defense, should be considered when determining a defense solution as well. Monitoring for network intrusions and reporting suspicious activity can greatly reduce the effects of an attack and can save companies a substantial amount of money.