Classes were canceled at a private university in Washington DC today following a cyber-attack. 

Unusual activity was discovered on the Howard University (HU) network last Friday by HU’s information technology team. On Monday, the university announced that it was working with forensic experts and law enforcement to investigate a suspected ransomware attack. 

While the investigation is ongoing, HU’s Enterprise Technology Services (ETS) shut down the university’s network.

“The situation is still being investigated, but we are writing to provide an interim update and to share as much information as we safely and possibly can at this point in time, considering that our emails are often shared within a public domain,” said HU in a statement.

“Based on the investigation and the information we have to date, we know the University has experienced a ransomware cyberattack.”

The university said it found no evidence to suggest that any personal information belonging to students or staff had been accessed, stolen, or exhilarated during the attack. 

While HU works to determine what happened, it has warned those awaiting the return of the network that they may have to be patient. 

“ETS and its partners have been working diligently to fully address this incident and restore operations as quickly as possible; but please consider that remediation, after an incident of this kind, is a long haul – not an overnight solution,” wrote the university in a statement.

Classes were canceled on Tuesday, and the campus was closed to all but essential employees. Campus Wi-Fi has also been halted, and access to some apps has been blocked while the investigation is ongoing. 

Howard University said it is taking steps to prevent any data from being accessed by unauthorized third parties. 

“This is a highly dynamic situation, and it is our priority to protect all sensitive personal, research and clinical data,” said university officials. 

“We are in contact with the FBI and the DC city government, and we are installing additional safety measures to further protect the University’s and your personal data from any criminal ciphering.

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