ECC shuts down due to computer system hack

Jul 23, 2020

Erie Community College shut down its three campuses Wednesday after internal IT staffers discovered the college computer system had been hacked.

Initially, it was thought to be only a few computers, until more turned up compromised. Interim President Bill Reuter said the decision was made to shut down until the problem could be analyzed and resolved.

"Fortunately for the college, we have a fantastic internal staff," Reuter said. "We've also contacted outside law enforcement to investigate the malware incident and we have also had outside entities reach out offering assistance, both the University of Buffalo and SUNY Central."

Reuter said the malware involved in the hack has apparently been sitting in the computer system for a while and that is being looked at. He said there is no indication that what happened was a ransomware attack, since the overall system is still working.

He said college data is backed up into the cloud and the COVID-19 pandemic actually helped, because of remote work.

"Many people's work was not impacted because they could still access through the internet, their own personal internet, they could still access all their files and emails and stuff like that," Reuter said. "So our email has not been impacted and it seems like now that's the way we communicate, and doing Web-exes and Zooms, and they've not been impacted. So business is continuing."

Reuter was recently brought back as interim president for the college. In the three years since he retired, the college has hired an information security officer.