150-Year Old College Taken Down By Ransomware And Covid

Lincoln College in Illinois is shutting down on Friday, in part due to a combination of pandemic related issues as well as a ransomware attack. The college is one of the rural few that qualify as a predominantly Black institution according to the Department of Education.

The college was named after President Abraham Lincoln and was founded in 1865. The college has, according to a note posted on the school’s website, survived World War II, the Spanish flu and the Great Depression. But it was unable to handle a ransomware attack that occurred in December of 2021, a situation which took months to fix.

According to a note written by the school, the cyberattack “thwarted admissions activities and hindered access to all institutional data … all systems required for recruitment, retention, and fundraising efforts were inoperable.” This led to the school being unable to accurately project enrollment for the Fall of 2022, and due to a lack of enrollment, the college was forced to close. The only thing that could’ve saved it was a large donation or partnership, but no such investment occurred.

Unfortunately, ransomware and other cyberattacks have become more prevalent, and have caused devastating effects to all types of industries. The damage they bring takes months to fix, the data they impact isn’t guaranteed to be recovered, and the financial cost is exorbitant. It’s important to maintain a strong security infrastructure, no matter what industry you’re in.

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