Northern Essex Community College recently became aware of a network interruption issue impacting the functionality of our systems. Upon learning of this issue, we began working closely with law enforcement and cybersecurity professionals to conduct a forensic investigation. The College took immediate steps to secure its environment and initiate an initial investigation to evaluate the scope of the incident.
As it appears that this was a cyberattack, the College is conducting a full systems audit to determine exactly what systems may have been affected and what impact, if any, there is on student and employee information. At this time, the College has no forensic evidence that this incident resulted in the unauthorized access to or acquisition of personally identifiable information. In the event that the investigation determines that personally identifiable information was compromised, appropriate notifications will be made, including contacting impacted individuals directly with guidance and next steps. The College continues to recommend persistent digital safety and vigilance, which includes regularly changing passwords.
We are taking this matter very seriously. At this time, we do not have further information to share, but our priority is to quickly resolve this incident and keep the college community apprised of relevant developments.
The college will be closed again on Monday, March 6, 2023. We are aiming to open everything as safely and as quickly as possible.
Northern Essex Community College became aware of unauthorized access to its network on or around March 1, 2023.
- The college immediately launched an investigation in consultation with law enforcement and cybersecurity professionals to determine the extent of any compromise to the information on its network.
- At this time, Northern Essex Community College has no forensic evidence that this incident resulted in the unauthorized access to or acquisition of personally identifiable information.
- However, this issue is a primary focus of the investigation.
- In the event that the investigation determines that personally identifiable information was compromised, individuals will be contacted directly with guidance and next steps.
Cybersecurity incidents are unfortunately becoming more common each day.
- In 2021, more than 4,100 publicly disclosed data breaches occurred, resulting in 22 billion records being exposed.
- In fact, educational and research institutions were targeted by an average of 1,065 cyberattacks per week in 2021 — a 75% increase from 2020.
While we continue to seek further resolution of this incident and will notify any impacted individuals directly with guidance, our community can always take steps to protect ourselves from cybersecurity incidents including:
- Changing all passwords, including bank accounts, credit cards, and other financial institutions.
- Reviewing financial statements and watching for suspicious activity.
- Regularly monitoring credit reports.
- Reporting suspicious activity or unauthorized charges to banks or financial institutions. Contact your bank or financial institution if you notice suspicious activity or unauthorized charges to your accounts
- Students and employees should also visit IdentityTheft.gov to take a few simple steps to protect their personal information and stay vigilant. The government website provides a variety of resources about what to do in the event that your personal information is lost or stolen.
For press inquiries, please contact Melissa Bouse, Director of Public Relations.