North Idaho College recovering from cyberattack that led to network shutdown
Jonathan Greig November 3, 2022

North Idaho College recovering from cyberattack that led to network shutdown

Jonathan Greig

November 3, 2022

North Idaho College recovering from cyberattack that led to network shutdown

A community college in Idaho is recovering from a cyberattack that forced the school to shut down its networks temporarily.

North Idaho College – established in 1933 – is based in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho and has about 6,000 students. 

A spokesperson for North Idaho College said the school recently experienced a “cybersecurity incident” and its information technology team immediately shut down the college networks to contain the disruption.

“While the outage impacted many of our systems, our IT team restored most of our critical systems within 24 hours,” the spokesperson said. 

“We’ve engaged a team of third-party forensic experts to conduct a thorough investigation into the nature and scope of this incident. The investigation is ongoing and law enforcement is aware of our investigation.”

The school has already provided similar information to employees and students about the situation but noted that it is still trying to “gain a complete understanding of the incident.”

“Our primary focus remains on a safe and efficient remediation process,” the spokesperson added. 

“The privacy and security of our systems are responsibilities we take seriously. As our investigation continues, we are committed to keeping our community informed, as appropriate.”

North Idaho College is the latest in a series of U.S. universities hit by cyberattacks in 2022. Emsisoft ransomware expert Brett Callow told The Record that the education sector continues to be one of the most popular for ransomware groups and other hackers. 

“At least 35 colleges and universities in the U.S. have been hit this year, with at least 24 of them having had data exfiltrated and released online,” he said. 

“This is in addition to the 33 school districts which have also been hit.”

Savannah College of Art and Design was attacked in September while the 12,500-student College of the Desert was hit with a cyberattack in July. Austin Peay State University sent out urgent messages to students and faculty in April warning of a ransomware attack affecting the school’s systems.

Community colleges like College of the Desert and North Idaho College have become a popular target for ransomware gangs in recent months. Kellogg Community College was forced to cancel multiple days of classes in May after a ransomware attack.

Ohlone College, Savannah State University, University of Detroit Mercy, Centralia College, Phillips Community College of the University of Arkansas, National University College, North Carolina A&T UniversityFlorida International UniversityStratford University are just a few of the U.S. schools attacked with ransomware this year.

The FBI said in May that Russian cybercrime forums are teeming with the network credentials and virtual private network accesses of employees from U.S. colleges and universities. 

Jonathan Greig is a Breaking News Reporter at Recorded Future News. Jonathan has worked across the globe as a journalist since 2014. Before moving back to New York City, he worked for news outlets in South Africa, Jordan and Cambodia. He previously covered cybersecurity at ZDNet and TechRepublic.