Crowder College still feeling impact of ransomware attack

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NEOSHO, Mo. — $1.6 million – that was the ransom demand that brought nearly every computer at Crowder College to a halt last year. More than a year later, there’s still a lingering impact.

Glenn Coltharp, Crowder President, said, “It did shut us completely down.”

A ransomware attack demanding more than a million dollars for Crowder College’s digital life. But what would follow would be months and months of painstaking effort to rebuild.

Al Stadler, Crowder CIO, said, “When you have a network this size, whether it’s a school or hospital it doesn’t get rebuilt overnight – this was a near total wipe.”

The attack on July 7th meant no digital enrollment for the Fall.

“Had to move to a paper type enrollment system that went back to the ’60s or the ’70s,” said Coltharp.

The impact of the hack is something they still feel, starting with security.

“Don’t put all your eggs in one basket, one security solution, have multiple layers,” said Stadler.

And the rebuilding process, though painful, helped the college prepare for what was to come.

“We went from the start of the year with a technology virus to the end of the year with a human virus,” said Coltharp.

They had a new crisis plan to refer to, and better technology than just a few months earlier to handle the transition to remote learning. And a much more savvy campus watching out for anything suspicious.

“That’s how it usually starts, with a phishing email,” said Stadler.

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