Sterling Technology CEO Weighs in on Gaston College Ransomware Attack on Queen City News

May 15, 2023

In a disturbing trend, higher education institutions across the country are falling victim to a surge in ransomware attacks, crippling their systems and posing significant challenges for both students and faculty. The rise in cybercriminals targeting colleges has sent shockwaves through the academic community, raising concerns about data security and the disruption of essential educational services.Most recently, Gaston College was the latest victim of a ransomware attack that targeted their network infrastructure, rendering vital services inaccessible. The security concern was identified on February 22, 2023 and caused systems to be altered for months.Sterling Technology Solutions of Charlotte, NC, manages IT services for small to medium businesses in the Carolinas, and CEO Tom Blanchard weighed in on the recent ransomware attacks. Click the video above to see what he had to say about this growing threat.Ransomware attacks, a form of malicious software designed to block access to a computer system until a ransom is paid, have plagued numerous colleges and universities, paralyzing their operations and compromising sensitive data. These attacks have not only impacted the availability of critical resources but have also put the personal information of students, staff, and faculty at risk.In the case of Gaston College, students and faculty were abruptly cut off from key educational platforms, including online courses, email systems, and administrative databases. The university's response was swift, involving collaboration with cybersecurity experts and law enforcement agencies to contain the breach, mitigate the damage, and restore functionality.The motives behind these attacks are twofold: financial gain and disruption. "Hackers have gone from being anarchists to capitalists- they want to get paid," says Blanchard. Cybercriminals view educational institutions as lucrative targets due to their valuable data, reliance on technology, and willingness to pay substantial sums to restore access to their systems. Moreover, the disruption caused by such attacks can bring a college to its knees, tarnishing its reputation and causing significant financial losses.The impact of ransomware attacks on college systems extends far beyond the immediate disruption. Students face a disruption in their education, experiencing delays in assignments, limited access to coursework, and even the risk of their personal information being compromised.As the frequency and severity of ransomware attacks on colleges continue to rise, it is imperative for institutions to remain vigilant, continuously assess their security protocols, and prioritize the protection of sensitive data. Only through a concerted effort can higher education institutions stand resilient against the ever-present threat of cybercrime and ensure uninterrupted access to quality education for their students and faculty.If you are concerned that your organization could be facing ransomware attacks or want to tighten up your server’s security, Sterling Technology Solutions can help. Contact them today for more information.References: