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Northern Essex CC Reopens After Cyber Attack

A public community college in Massachusetts was set to reopen campuses Wednesday after shutting down for a couple days due to a cyber attack, the source and effects of which are still under investigation.

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(TNS) — Northern Essex Community College's Haverhill and Lawrence campuses will reopen Wednesday after being closed Monday and Tuesday due to a cyber attack. Classes will resume as normal.

The college's IT team has been hard at work with cybersecurity professionals to ensure a safe and secure return.

"We are currently in the restoration recovery phase and a full return with all systems will be strategically and securely rolled out," said Melissa Bouse, director of public relations.

Employees with laptops were told Monday evening to stop using them and to leave them in their office as soon as possible so the college's information technology team could install protection-client and perform system forensics.

Beginning Wednesday, employees who have yet to bring their laptops in should report directly to the second floor of the Haverhill campus library only (Building A) beginning at 9:30 a.m. All service desk assistance will be there and in-person only.

Various security measures will be ongoing to continue to ensure safety of the college's data and systems.

On Sunday, Bouse said the college had recently become aware of a network interruption issue affecting its computer systems.

"Upon learning of this issue, we began working closely with law enforcement and cybersecurity professionals to conduct a forensic investigation," she said. "The college took immediate steps to secure its environment and initiate an initial investigation to evaluate the scope of the incident."

Bouse said the college was conducting a full systems audit to determine which systems may have been affected and what impact, if any, there was on student and employee information.

Bouse also said Sunday afternoon that although the college had no evidence the incident resulted in unauthorized access to personal information, appropriate notification would be made if the investigation determined such information was compromised, including contacting those who were affected directly and providing guidance and the next steps to take.

"The college continues to recommend persistent digital safety and vigilance, which includes regularly changing passwords," she said.

©2023 The Eagle-Tribune (North Andover, Mass.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.