NC: Guilford Technical Community College hit with ransomware

From a statement on Guilford Technical Community College‘s web site that seems to have been removed:

On Sunday, Sept. 13, 2020, GTCC had an unauthorized access to the college network. Campuses were shut down for Monday, Sept. 14, 2020 to limit the extent of the unauthorized access and determine its impact.

As of today’s update to their site, classes will resume in-person on September 21.

GTCC is the second technical college recently hit with ransomware. The first was an attack on Greenville Technical College in South Carolina — an attack whose scope the college initially downplayed. But after the  Avaddon threat actors provided what appeared to be compelling evidence that they had, indeed, exfiltrated personal information, Greenville Tech suddenly went silent publicly. Shortly thereafter, their name and listing disappeared from Avaddon’s leak site, leading many to wonder whether the college had wound up paying ransom after all.  DataBreaches.net has received no response to a September 14 inquiry as to whether they paid ransom or not, but the college has now issued an update.

Now we have Guilford Technical Community College in North Carolina being listed on DoppelPaymer’s leak site.  Were there any operators or worker bees working on both of the attacks on technical colleges?

As noted above and as described in the now-removed notice, archived below, the GTCC attack resulted in the shut down of the campus and disruption of a number of services such as WebAdvisor and Navigate. It also resulted in the closure of a number of college offices.

Notice on GTCC site about the disruption to services due to ransomware attack.

As is typical of the current trend in ransomware attacks, the threat actors do not indicate how much ransom demanded, but do offer some proof of access. In this case, two files were uploaded to the threat actors’ leak site: a document naming the advisors for the college’s clubs, with the advisors’ names and email addresses, and an expense file on COVID-19 related expenses. Neither document contains confidential or sensitive information as both could have been obtained under open records laws or directory information for the campus. But the files make the point that the attackers had access.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

DataBreaches.net also notes that there appeared to be a third technical college whose name appeared briefly on a leak site and then disappeared. It was a technical college that was part of the same South Carolina technical college system as Greenville, but unfortunately, it seems that I did not get any screenshots or record the school’s name or attackers before it disappeared. DataBreaches.net reached out to the South Carolina technical college system to ask how many of their colleges had been attacked or if the whole central system had been attacked.  This post will be updated if a response is received.

This post was edited post-publication to add a link to Greenville’s updated disclosure.

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