Internet outage across campus leaves Simpson with few answers


Photo by Alyssa Craven

by Abby Ludwig, Staff Reporter

Last week, Simpson College fell victim to a cyberattack, something that many colleges nationwide have suffered from at the beginning of April. 

On April 13, an email from sccommunications announced that the cause of the system outages had been identified, and steps had been taken to resolve.  

“Simpson College acted swiftly in securing both our systems and commencing an investigation into the potential incident’s nature and scope,” the email said. “We have been working diligently with the cybersecurity experts supporting our ITS team and the FBI, who has joined the ongoing investigation.”

It is not yet clear whether or not data was breached during the cyberattack. 

“While teams are restoring our systems, the investigation has prioritized determining whether sensitive data may have been impacted,” the email said. “If it is determined that has happened, we will move quickly to notify the relevant parties. We treat our responsibility to safeguard students, faculty and staff information and data as an utmost priority.”

Early last Friday morning Simpson College canceled all classes for the day because of increasingly worse internet connection issues that affected all students, faculty, and staff across campus.

VP of Marketing and Strategic Communication, Cathy Cole, confirmed that Simpson did not know of any internet issues until early Friday morning. This led to classes being canceled and students being locked out of their accounts for all school-related websites.

“Simpson immediately commenced an investigation, which is ongoing,” Cole said.

Cole said Simpson has both ITF teams as well as outside experts who are helping with the investigation at this time.

Cole then went on to explain how Simpson is getting things back on track for the campus.

“We are bringing up the internet in stages right now. The first ones we brought up of course were students, and then ‘scdevices’, and then ‘guest’ network came up. We’re working through the rest of them as quickly as we can.”

An explanation for why students got locked out of their accounts, Cole explained, was servers being overloaded.

“As everyone woke up as we were trying to reset, it overloaded the servers. We brought in more servers and spun them up. And so that should be dissipating very quickly.”

When asked if this incident was related to ransomware (malicious software designed to block access to a computer system until a sum of money is paid) Cole said “It’s simply a cyber incident, and we’re investigating what’s going on and we’ll continue that investigation to find out the cause.”

Director of Information Services, Lynne Jensen, declined to comment on the incident at this time.