'Breach' Disrupts Heartland Community College's Computer Systems | WGLT

'Breach' Disrupts Heartland Community College's Computer Systems

Oct 6, 2020

Heartland Community College officials said they hope to resume online classes Wednesday as they investigate an online security breach.

Heartland Public Information Director Steve Fast said Normal Police also are investigating the breach that the school's IT staff discovered on Monday.

He said the school and its IT vendors have bolstered security in recent months as the pandemic has made anyone doing more business online a bigger target.

“More people are working online. There is more data being passed back and forth,” Fast said. “It is a larger target for malicious actors.”

Fast said it appears no student or personnel data were compromised.

“You have to be incredibly thorough, so (IT staffers) are going through this with a fine-toothed comb, making sure there no signs that any of that was breached," he said. "Of course, if it were then we would take actions to contact those people.”

Fast added he’s not aware the perpetrators made any ransom demands or revealed motives.

“Sometimes these attempts are multifaceted,” Fast said. “There could be a bunch of different goals that the outside actors have. They could be troublemakers, they could be seeking monetary gain.”

The incident is at least the second involving an Illinois community college.

In April, Illinois Valley Community College's servers shut down, WNIJ reported. It happened soon after COVID-19 closed down the campus and shifted classes online. Hackers locked the Oglesby college out of its own networks. That caused its website and email system to crash. In the directory where files should be, the hackers left a message demanding cash for ransom.

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