157-Year-Old University Forced To Close Forever After Ransomware Attack

A ransomware attack caused Lincoln University , a 157-year-old educational institution, to shut down its service.


Ransomware has become a worrying trend in the world of IT security, with a 66% increase in attacks on public organizations and successful data hijacking in two out of three attacks . The level of devastation from these raids is so severe that a 157-year-old university is forced to close its doors after being the victim of one.

In a statement , Lincoln College announced that it will permanently close from May 13, 2022, as part of a decision made by the board that will begin at the end of the semester.

“Lincoln College has survived many difficult and challenging times: the economic crisis of 1887, a great campus fire in 1912, the Spanish flu of 1918, the Great Depression, World War II, the global financial crisis of 2008 and more. , but this is different…Lincoln College needs help to survive”, pointed out the authorities of the educational entity.

It all started on the morning of December 19, 2021, when employees of the educational center arrived at the offices and found several messages accumulated in the paper trays of the printers, demanding money in exchange for the release of the information.

This attack paralyzed the systems of the university, which was preparing for the 2022 admissions process. By not accessing the institutional data of students and applicants, as well as the payment managers, Lincoln College was severely affected.

“All of our registration systems, our academic records, our finances, our admissions, our fundraising. Everything was shocked and shut down,” said David Gerlach, president of the university.

Universities: target of ransomware

In 2022 alone, several educational institutions in the United States have been attacked under information hijacking. Ohlone College, Savannah State University, University of Detroit Mercy, Centralia College, Phillips Community College of the University of Arkansas, National University College, North Carolina A&T University, Florida International University, and Stratford University are just a few of the US schools targeted with ransomware this year, according to reports.

“It stopped everything we did. It’s all we can focus on for a month and a half. Why not use that great knowledge to help people? the president of Lincoln College asked the college attackers.

After negotiating with criminals and regaining access for a fee, officials faced negative projections to keep the university active. This attack was just a series of events that have impacted the entity since 2019, according to Gerlach.

“We are a small university with a small endowment. The college population will be in decline through 2029. When you add in inflation and the possibility of young people getting $15 to $20 an hour jobs, that will keep them from going to college,” he said.