Iowa college shut down after cyberattack hits IT system

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Iowa college shut down after cyberattack hits IT system

Members of the Des Moines Area Community College in Iowa have returned to person instruction on Wednesday after a cyber attack caused its IT system partially shut down on Friday and cancelled classes for multiple days.

DMACC announced that it would close the college as it investigated a security incident and noted that IT assets including online instruction and its online telephone system may not be fully available at this time.

The College officials noted that late class registration deadlines, which were effective from June 3 would be extended indefinitely until the situation is resolved. DMACC also advised faculty, staff and students to avoid using systems such as Office 365 and Blackboard software.

In an update on Tuesday, the college announced that classes involving an in-person component would resume beginning Wednesday and are held at their regularly scheduled times and locations. Courses scheduled to begin June 7 will meet again on Thursday at regularly scheduled times and locations.

Meanwhile, virtual or online courses offered remain only cancelled until 24 hours after the network is restored to give the faculty time to modify schedules and assignments.

I want to thank you personally for your patience and understanding as we work to get the Microsoft DMACC computer network fully restored, said DMACC President Rob Denson in a message posted on the website of the College. Unfortunately, security issues across the country have reached epidemic levels.

Our IT department and outside cyber experts have been working around the clock to get full service restored and determine which, if any, data was compromised. Denson added that the FBI has also called them and they have joined the investigation. I want to assure you that we are doing everything possible to get our systems operational again. As always, our students are our Top priority and we want to help them through this as we restart in person and virtual classes.

According to Denson, there has been no evidence that any student or faculty information has been acquired or put into risk arising out of the incident.

Des Moines Area Community College is the latest victim to be hit in cyberattack this year, following similar attacks against truck maker Navistar International Corporation, the world's largest meat producer and New York City's Metropolitan Transportation Authority and Law Department, and a 5,500 mile system that transports 100 million gallons of gasoline, diesel, jet fuel and heating oil per day, or roughly 45% of fuel consumed across the East Coast, between the Gulf Coast and New York metro area.

Fall classes at DMACC are currently scheduled to begin on Aug. 25.

While most face-to-face classes are scheduled to return this fall, the college plans to take new steps that represented the new normal in order to keep students, faculty and staff safe, a cached version of the College's website reads. Face masks are recommended until further notice. Plans to return to fully in-person operations would change depending on the state of pandemic during the summer and into fall.

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