Fall Semester at College of the Desert Begins Monday, Despite Malware Attack

Fall Semester at College of the Desert Begins Monday, Despite Malware Attack

Taylor Martinez

PALM DESERT (CNS) – Fall semester classes at College of the Desert will begin virtually Monday as planned, despite the school’s website and other web services remaining offline due to a malware attack, college officials said Friday.

“Our IT team and our third-party cybersecurity experts are continuing to work around the clock to restore our systems,” the college announced Friday in a Facebook post. “We recognize this has been a difficult time and we thank you for your continued patience.”

The Palm Desert-based community college announced on Tuesday that the school had been hit by a malware attack on Sunday, which typically involves the use of malicious software to gain access to personal information, or for other purposes related to financial gain.

COD officials said Tuesday there is no evidence at this point to suggest the attackers stole personal information of students, staff or faculty.

The school did not announced when the college’s web services, including college email, would return to normal, and a COD spokeswoman could not immediately be reached for comment.

Additional details about the weekend attack or its aftermath were not made public, although officials said the college hired an outside cyber- forensics firm to assist college staff in investigating what happened and to begin recovery efforts soon after the attack.

Students will not be dropped from their classes due to nonpayment of fees while the college’s systems are down, officials said.

The college’s emergency text alert system will continue to provide updates and information to all faculty, staff and students while systems remain down, according to the college.

Anyone who needs to reset a school username or password should email CODCanvasHelp2020@mycod.us with an applicable username, student ID number and a phone number. School staff will be calling individuals to verify identities before resetting passwords.

Students can continue to reach the Counseling Office through the college’s “Cranium Cafe” by going to https://collegeofthedesert.craniumcafe.com/login.

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