Howard University cancels classes amid ransomware attack

So far, there's been "no evidence of personal information being accessed or exfiltrated," but an investigation is ongoing.

Abrar Al-Heeti Technology Reporter
Abrar Al-Heeti is a technology reporter for CNET, with an interest in phones, streaming, internet trends, entertainment, pop culture and digital accessibility. She's also worked for CNET's video, culture and news teams. She graduated with bachelor's and master's degrees in journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Though Illinois is home, she now loves San Francisco -- steep inclines and all.
Expertise Abrar has spent her career at CNET analyzing tech trends while also writing news, reviews and commentaries across mobile, streaming and online culture. Credentials
  • Named a Tech Media Trailblazer by the Consumer Technology Association in 2019, a winner of SPJ NorCal's Excellence in Journalism Awards in 2022 and has three times been a finalist in the LA Press Club's National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Awards.
Abrar Al-Heeti
2 min read
Howard University sign
Getty Images

Howard University on Monday said it experienced a ransomware cyberattack after noticing "unusual activity on the University's network" late last week. The situation is sill being investigated, and the university canceled classes Tuesday "to give our IT team more time to address the issue," it said in a release.  

The school's Enterprise Technology Services shut down the university's network to investigate what happened and has been working to restore operations as soon as possible, Howard said. In the meantime, the physical campus is open only to essential employees, and campus Wi-Fi is down until the university can "determine the best and safest path to stand it up."

Howard added, "This is a highly dynamic situation, and it is our priority to protect all sensitive personal, research and clinical data. We are in contact with the FBI and the DC city government, and we are installing additional safety measures to further protect the university's and your personal data from any criminal ciphering."

The university said it'll update faculty and students each day at 2 p.m. about whether campus operations will resume the next day. On Tuesday, Howard said the situation is still being investigated, and that, "there has been no evidence of personal information being accessed or exfiltrated; however, our investigation remains ongoing, and we continue to work toward clarifying the facts surrounding what happened and what information has been accessed."

All online and hybrid undergraduate courses are still suspended for Wednesday, and only essential employees can access the physical campus. In-person undergraduate, graduate, professional and clinical experiential courses will resume.