By Gabriel Fisher
Kellogg Community College (KCC) closed all of its campuses Monday – just one week before the end of the semester – to the surprise of the school’s students. The reason? Over the weekend, the school’s network had been at the receiving end of a malware attack.
The malware in question was ransomware, a type of malware that effectively holds parts of a computer system hostage. In an attempt to combat this, KCC’s IT staff initiated a “forced password reset” for all students, faculty, and staff, stating in an alert that they “want to reassure our faculty and students that we will take any actions necessary for students to complete course work in a timely manner and appreciate your patience and support in the meantime.”
KCC is based in Battle Creek with regional campuses in Albion, Coldwater and Hastings. In an announcement posted Monday on the school website, college administrators stated: “all campuses will remain closed tomorrow (Tuesday) and until further notice to all our students. All classes are also canceled until we are able to reopen safely.”
In an updated announcement, staff were being advised to report for work on the main campus on Tuesday to prepare to welcome students back at some point later this week.
“We want to reiterate to our faculty and students that we will take any actions necessary for students to complete course work in a timely manner,” the note continued. “…Thank you for your patience and understanding as we work as quickly as possible to resolve this situation.”
This attack at KCC is a reminder for others to be vigilant. Grand Rapids Community College is taking preventative measures as well, with the Information Technology Security Team providing guidance to the students and faculty.
“It is important to say that everyone on campus plays a role in keeping campus networks and data safe,” said Dave Murray, GRCC’s Communications Director. “Our Information Technology team does a great job reminding employees and students about phishing and other dangers.”
Murray, the IT Security Team, and GRCC President Bill Pink advised not to click on any suspicious links, attachments, or emails, and to take as many precautions as possible. Make sure to verify the validity of any links you’re suspicious of, keep in mind if you’re receiving any documents, check file types, report any emails you suspect of being phishing scams, and contact the IT Security Team or IT Support Desk.
GRCC’s IT security team can be reached at ITSecurity@grcc.edu or by calling the IT Support Desk at 616-234-4357.