• Ransomware attack started on Oct. 2, 2021.
    • School officials have not yet stated what data may have been compromised, or the requested ransom amount.
    • Wifi and internet access on campus, and library services that require the Internet, are all unavailable until further notice.

04 October 2021 |  Washington Adventist University is experiencing an ongoing ransomware attack, according to a statement by the school. A ransomware attack is a type of malicious software that infects a computer and encrypts the information on it, restricting users’ access to it until a ransom is paid to unlock it.

The statement said that “with any attack of this nature, data may have been exposed. WAU will be working with forensic experts to identify what may have been accessed.” The statement did not reveal exactly what data was accessed, or the amount of ransom demanded.

The attack was identified after 11 p.m. on Oct. 2. The school is working with the Montgomery County Cyber Taskforce and the FBI to resolve the situation. “There is a balance that has to be reached between access and security,” said the statement. “The timeline therefore may be incremental rather than an overnight solution.”

The attack has made certain technologies unavailable until further notice, including Wifi and internet access from the campus, electronic point of service machines in the bookstore and dining hall, the WAU cashier’s window and library services that require Internet.

However, WAU will be open for in-person classes today, Oct. 4, including all Zoom platform classes.

WAU Communications plans to send an update each day or at a greater frequency. To receive WAU Alert texts, send the text message, “WAUALERT” to 888777. Messaging rates apply. Information will also be sent through the WAU App.

WAU is located in Takoma Park, Maryland, near the United States’ capital. It is a private university offering programs in Arts and Social Sciences, Graduate and Professional Studies, and Health Professions, Science & Wellness. It had an undergraduate student enrollment of 845 in Fall 2020, according to US News and World Report.

(Photo via Pixabay.)

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