Cyberattack Doomed 157-Year-Old College

Lincoln College shutting its doors due to ransomware attack, COVID pandemic
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted May 10, 2022 1:26 AM CDT
Ransomware Attack Doomed 157-Year-Old College
Stock photo.   (Getty Images / Vitalii Gulenok)

(Newser) – For the first time in the US, a higher education institution is shuttering, in part, due to a ransomware attack. Lincoln College, an Illinois school that qualifies as a predominantly Black institution and which opened in 1865 as the namesake school of Abraham Lincoln, is closing Friday after also struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic, NBC News reports. "Lincoln College was a victim of a cyberattack in December 2021 that thwarted admissions activities and hindered access to all institutional data, creating an unclear picture of Fall 2022 enrollment projections,” the school says on its website.

"All systems required for recruitment, retention, and fundraising efforts were inoperable. ... Once fully restored in March 2022, the projections displayed significant enrollment shortfalls, requiring a transformational donation or partnership to sustain Lincoln College beyond the current semester." Recruitment and fundraising had also been hindered by the pandemic, and COVID had also caused enrollment to take a hit, Engadget notes.

The college held its final commencement ceremony Sunday, but some students who had not yet completed their studies are struggling. One international student is hustling to find somewhere else to enroll so her visa is not revoked. The college says it will help students who need to transfer. Gizmodo calls ransomware attacks on educational institutions, which can cost millions to deal with, "a nationwide epidemic." (Read more ransomware stories.)

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