Virginia Wesleyan University hit by ransomware attack

Virginia Beach

In this Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2019, photo a woman types on a keyboard in New York. Cybersecurity researchers say a coordinated cyberespionage campaign has targeted U.N. relief agencies, the International Red Cross and other non-governmental organizations groups for the past 10 months. The California cybersecurity outfit Lookout says the campaign, which uses phishing to harvest passwords from mobile phones and computers, is still active. (AP Photo/Jenny Kane)

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Virginia Wesleyan University says it’s had to take some computer systems offline after being targeted by a ransomware attack earlier this week.

Spokesperson Stephanie Smaglo says the university learned certain computer systems became encrypted by the ransomware on Tuesday, December 10, and university officials took steps to isolate problem, including taking some systems offline.

It’s unclear who was behind the attack, but Smaglo says the university has enlisted the help of an external cybersecurity firm to help address to issue and prevent it from happening again. Law enforcement was also notified.

“Our entire IT Services staff is working tenaciously around the clock to restore our systems to operation as quickly as possible,” Smaglo said.

The attack comes the same week as the start of finals for Virginia Wesleyan, which began Friday and go through next week. However, the issue isn’t affecting exam schedules.

“With this incident, Virginia Wesleyan joins an alarming number of higher education institutions, government entities, and worldwide organizations that have endured this type of threat,” Smaglo said. “We are addressing the challenges head on and feel confident that service will be restored as quickly and efficiently as possible.”

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