Gaston College was the victim of a ransomware attack in February, and the hacker accessed files containing employees’ personal information, according to an internal email from the college.
A college employee forwarded a copy of an email about the attack to the Gaston Gazette on May 4. In the email, which was sent to faculty and staff, college president Dr. John Hauser said that the college is reviewing data that was potentially compromised during the attack and urged faculty and staff to sign up for credit monitoring.
“The investigation thus far indicates that certain personal information was included within files that were exfiltrated by the unknown actor during the event,” Hauser wrote. “Once the review of potentially impacted data is complete and we understand the full scope of information that may be impacted, we will continue to work as expeditiously as possible to contact any impacted individual.”
Ransomware is a type of malware designed to hold computer data hostage and extort money from the victim.
The ransomware attack took place Feb. 22. In a written response to questions from the Gazette, the college said it has worked to maintain operations, restore its systems, and review affected data. Law enforcement and cybersecurity experts are investigating the incident.
“The College determined it was in the best interests of students and employees to take a cautious approach in the restoration of the systems to ensure no repropagation. Currently, all critical systems have been restored,” the statement said.
The college offered faculty and staff access to free credit monitoring and identity restoration services through TransUnion.
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