GTCC to reopen all courses, programs after cyber attack

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JAMESTOWN, N.C. — All courses and programs offered at Guilford Technical Community College will reopen Monday, Sept. 21, according to a news release from the college.

This includes courses and programs offered at all five campuses.

GTCC has been operating on a modified schedule for select programs since Tuesday, Sept. 15, following a cybersecurity incident. 

Due to the ongoing investigation, the college does not have any additional information to share at this time.

“We are proactive and we also have good security. But as you know, there have been school districts, colleges, universities and organizations that have had these unauthorized access incidents happen,” explained Dr. Anthony Clarke, president of GTCC.

On Sunday, the school became a victim too.

Clarke told FOX8 their IT team and the North Carolina Community College System Cyber Incident Response team is investigating and trying to fix the problem.

“As good as your security is, there’s always something,” he said. 

The cyber incident is still under investigation. Right now, Clarke said they just don’t know exactly what happened or the full extent of it. 

“To me, it probably means they had some ransomware installed on their computers or something like that. Or someone maybe hacked into the system,” Jennifer Dickinson said. 

The second-year GTCC mechanical engineering student learned about the network issue on social media.

She’s concerned. 

“They have a great deal of information, you know? Financial information, personal information, educational information,” Dickinson said. “There’s quite a bit of data that goes into the community college system.”

She told FOX8 she’s heard about more cyber attacks on schools and organizations recently.

“I think it’s a low blow. It’s people trying to take advantage of a situation when it’s already very challenging to do this learning online. Everyone is struggling,” Dickinson added.

She hopes GTCC staff and others take this incident as an opportunity to beef up their own online security systems.

“Right now, all you need is your email and your password, and that could be easily obtained,” Dickinson said. “Maybe there could be some way they could verify you’re a student. Whether it’s through a student ID or something. Just some way to make sure the person logging in is actually a student.”

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