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

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

Taylor Martinez

PALM DESERT (CNS) – Fall semester classes at College of the Desert began virtually Monday as planned, despite the school’s website and other web services — including the ability to add or drop classes — remaining hindered due to a recent malware attack.

Students were able to access class materials and communicate with their instructors over Canvas, the college’s online learning management system, and had access to a temporary school website with limited capabilities.

“Due to the recent malware event, this is a temporary website with information and resources for students, faculty and staff,” the school’s website homepage read Monday morning. “Our IT department is continuing to work around the clock to restore web services. Please check back often for updates. We thank you for your continued patience.”

The Palm Desert-based community college announced last week that the school had been hit by a malware attack, 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 at the time it was not believed attackers stole personal information belonging to students, staff or faculty.

The school has not said when web services, including college email for students, would return to normal. The temporary school website indicated email was up for school faculty.

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

Students hoping to add or drop classes must wait until systems are up to do so, according to the college.

Additional details about the 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 the attack and to begin recovery efforts.

Anyone who needs to reset a Canvas 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.

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.

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

Additional information can be found at http://www.collegeofthedesert.edu.

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