15/02/2022

Ransomware Hackers Attack California College

Cyber criminals have compromised data belonging to a Californian community college following a “sophisticated” attack operation.



On January 20, attack orchestrators breached the Ohlone Community College District (OCCD) network in Fremont, disrupting access to certain files.

According to school officials, the private information of some staff and faculty members, along with current and former students, was compromised.

The potentially stolen data included social security numbers, bank account details, birth dates, driver’s license numbers, and medical information.

Furthermore, data such as health insurance information, student ID numbers, course schedules, race/ethnicities, disciplinary files and grades, may also have been exploited by the attackers.

The OCCD student portal was offline for seventeen days, and the college’s email and phone systems for ten, with a separate student information system also impacted.

The college, through its main campus in Fremont, its ‘Center for Health Sciences & Technology’ in Newark, and online platform, serves around 16,000 students annually.

On February 4, Eric Bishop, the superintendent/president of OCCD, stated that an unknown party had accessed “certain portions of our network”, and that a subsequent investigation was underway.

Bishop stated: “The college continues working with third-party specialists to investigate how this incident occurred and what impact it had our systems.

“Although we have no evidence of misuse of information, we are proactively notifying individuals with information stored on our network.”

After the ransomware attack was reported, law enforcement set up a dedicated phone line to support individuals affected by the incident, and the ramifications of potential data theft.

The college stated that it has now bolstered its cyber security measures, and is offering data breach victims free access to identity protection and credit monitoring services.

“In response to this incident, we changed account passwords and are implementing additional security measures,” OCCD explained in a statement. “The college is also reviewing its policies and procedures related to network security.”


 

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