Whitworth reaches ‘final resolution’ in network security breach

Erin Robinson reports:

Whitworth University officials say they have reached a “final resolution” in a network security breach.

The university’s information systems were hacked in late July. A message to the Whitworth community says there is a chance personal student, alumni, employer or donor information was compromised. If an investigation determines that is the case, those impacted will be notified.

Read more at YakTriNews.

The following statement was issued by the university on August 17:

Dear Whitworth community members:

You are most likely aware by now that over the past few weeks we have been dealing with a very sophisticated security issue involving our network systems. With final resolution achieved, which allowed us to mitigate the impact, we can now share more about what happened.

On Friday, July 29, we became aware that our information systems had been accessed by outside actors. Our information technology and instructional resources (IT/IR) teams worked tirelessly alongside cybersecurity experts to stop the incident and have been restoring systems as fast as they can. We expect to restore about 95 percent of normal operations by Aug. 31.

As part of this ongoing investigation, our IT/IR experts have been working with outside forensic experts to identify what specific information may have been accessed. This process does take time. Please know that your security and the protection of your personal information is of utmost importance to us. Should the investigation determine that any personal information of students, alumni, employees or donors was impacted, we will notify those affected right away and provide them with the necessary resources to protect their information.

Through the restoration process we have added new layers of systems protections to better prevent any future incidents. We know this was a frustrating time for many of you, and we truly appreciated your patience as we worked toward a resolution.

DataBreaches has no idea what they mean by “final resolution.”  Earlier this month, LockBit threat group had added Whitworth to their leak site, but the listing was removed quickly thereafter. Does that mean that the university paid ransom?

Did LockBit ever provide them with a filetree or proof of access or exfiltration? If they had, then even if the university paid ransom and even if the threat actors pinky swore to destroy all data, the university should notify everyone whose information was exfiltrated or accessed “in an abundance of caution,” right?

DataBreaches sent inquiries to Whitworth University but no reply has been received yet.

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