NewsPhoenix Metro News


Maricopa Community Colleges investigating possible cyber attack after network outage

Computer keyboard
Posted at 9:38 AM, Mar 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-19 23:15:00-04

PHOENIX — Maricopa Community Colleges said Friday they are investigating a possible cyberattack after a network outage that has been impacting students since earlier this week.

Officials said suspicious activity was identified on the network Tuesday that "appears [to] be related to the early stages of a cyberattack." Officials to implement their incident response protocols following the start of the outage.

Maricopa Community Colleges released the following statement regarding the network outage.

"The Maricopa Community Colleges are experiencing a network outage affecting information technology systems that connect to MyInfo, Canvas, RioLearn, Maricopa email, Google Tools and the Student Information System. On March 16, 2021, suspicious activity was identified on the network and we immediately implemented our incident response protocols, disconnected network access, and took systems offline to protect our network. As part of our response process, we engaged key partners, including independent forensic specialists, who are working to help us investigate and resolve the outage. The Maricopa Community Colleges are committed to completing a detailed analysis of its internal systems and will take all appropriate action in response to its findings."

MCC officials said they are continuing to investigate the situation and do not have an estimated time for when access will be restored but say the spring break will be extended due to the issue.

"Out of an abundance of caution, we will need to continue to keep our computing systems offline as our information technology experts and key partners continue to work to identify and resolve the issue.

For that reason, we will resume class instruction for all modalities on March 29, 2021 (by individual exception some clinicals will resume as scheduled). We will also be extending the Spring semester one week to May 22, 2021. Faculty will work with college academic leadership on implementing this extension.

We understand this situation is frustrating and has impacted many of our students’ ability to complete assignments, review lectures and study for exams. We ask that faculty work with students on a course-by-course basis to ensure the technology disruptions do not negatively impact a student’s grade. Faculty will be flexible regarding these concerns, and any missed assignments or exams will be rescheduled.

Thank you for your continued patience and understanding during this time.

Please continue to visit our website for timely updates:"