Cybercriminals launched a malware attack against Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) to shut down a portion of the school's computer network, according to the Times Union. The attack comes as RPI students prepare for spring 2021 semester final exams.
All final exams, term papers and project reports due on May 10 and 11 were canceled, RPI announced on its Facebook page. RPI will modify its grading policies to reflect the cancelations and is making modifications for any tests that were interrupted due to the malware attack.
In addition, RPI has temporarily suspended access to its computer network, the school said. RPI officials also are working with law enforcement and cybersecurity experts to determine the extent of the attack.
RPI is a private research university located in Troy, New York, with two additional campuses in Connecticut. It has 7,900 students and more than 100,000 alumni.
Hackers Launch Ransomware Attacks Against Colorado, Miami Universities
The RPI malware attack comes after Clop ransomware attacks against the University of Colorado and University of Miami were discovered in early 2021. During these attacks, hackers used Clop to steal students' grades and Social Security numbers from Accellion File Transfer Appliance (FTA) servers.
Furthermore, cybercriminals attacked several universities in 2020, including:
- University of Utah: Paid nearly $500,000 in a cyber ransom to prevent hackers from releasing student data
- The State University of New York at Erie (SUNY Erie): Experienced a ransomware attack that shut down servers at three of the school's campus sites
- Michigan State University: Refused to pay hackers to release data allegedly stolen during a cyberattack
Cybercriminals are increasingly launching cyberattacks against higher education institutions and show no signs of slowing down any time soon. Meanwhile, MSSPs can provide schools with security services to help them guard against current and emerging cyber threats.