Regis University suffered from a crippling cyberattack last year just as students returned to campus for the fall semester. IT leaders at the private university in Denver revealed for the first time this week that the attack was a ransomware attack and that they paid the ransom in hopes of restoring access to their network.
Unfortunately, even after paying the ransom, full access to Regis’s systems was not restored, and day-to-day operations at the university were disrupted for months, The Denver Post reports. The university did not confirm how much they paid nor how much they spent recovering from the attack.
Ransomware attacks, though still relatively unusual, are on the rise in higher ed. Hackers demanded that Monroe College, a for-profit institution in New York City, pay $2 million in Bitcoin to restore access to the institution’s website, email and learning management system last year. The Stevens Institute of Technology as well as Grinnell, Oberlin and Hamilton Colleges were also targeted with ransomware attacks in 2019.
Few universities have admitted to paying ransoms in the past, in part because of concern they may be seen as a soft target for future cyberattacks.