SCC Held Hostage by Hackers

Ransomware shut down SCC’s Wi-Fi and website


Astrid Alexander, Managing Editor

It’s the final week of spring quarter on SCC’s campus. Students should be swarming with finals frenzy but all that greets the last few stragglers is vacant buildings and eerie silence. The barren campus appears unharmed at first glance, but try to turn on a computer and you’ll be faced with no connection.

On March 20, SCC was hit with a ransomware attack which disabled the Wi-Fi and website. This interrupted spring quarter finals causing the college to convert to virtual operations for the next two weeks.

In the aftermath of the attack, the library struggled to serve students. “There’s only one spot in the library that works, everywhere else is hit or miss,” said student library employee Kaveh Hamedani. “The library is much less busy. We have some rushes but not like what we had before, where people could sit here and study.”

The employees at the bookstore also struggled to get books to scholarship students “It’s been a total mess. We haven’t been able to get all the computers working every morning. The ransomware attack has been limiting our time with the scholarship students. We haven’t been able to get everyone’s scholarships in our system,” said bookstore employee Stella Gibbons.

On April 14, SCC’s website was restored and temporary hotspots were implemented around campus. Many students reported that they didn’t work consistently and were in too high demand. “The administration didn’t get enough of them and people from other buildings keep coming to snatch them away,” said Gibbons.

“We reached an agreement with the threat actors. We do have insurance that covers that agreement. We installed a whole new system so that faculty and students can access Wi-Fi,” said the new Director of Communications and Marketing Cat Chiappa.

“TSS [Technology Support Services] have been really awesome and have been working around the clock to restore as much faculty as they can,” said Chiappa. She directed all questions about the technological side of the attack back to TSS. When asked about the ransomware attack, future preventative measures and Wi-Fi restoration TSS declined to comment.

As of April 25, campus has mostly returned to normal, but residual anxiety lingers in the minds of many students and faculty. SCC released an official Notice of Data Breach disclosing that sensitive information such as Social Security numbers, financial account numbers and drivers license numbers had been accessed by the unauthorized third party.

When asked about possible negative effects on SCC’s already low enrollment numbers, Chiappa had good news.“Enrollment is actually up. We have remained focused on our students through all of this.” In a sea of technological trouble, newly enrolled students speak of better times ahead.