SAR’s Academic Freedom Monitoring Project investigates and reports attacks on higher education with the aim of raising awareness, generating advocacy, and increasing protection for scholars, students, and academic communities. Learn more.

Date of Incident: July 04, 2022

Attack Types: Other

Institution(s):College of the Desert

Region & Country:Americas | United States of America

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On July 4, 2022, College of the Desert (COD) suffered a ransomware attack that caused most of the college’s online services to go offline and affected employee email accounts and campus phone lines.

COD created a temporary website to provide updates, including that both in-person and online classes would not be disrupted. On July 21, COD’s website and online services were fully restored COD is reportedly working with law enforcement to investigate the attack. Authorities have not disclosed any information about the group that executed the ransomware attack.

Scholars at Risk is concerned about a targeted cyber attack on a higher education institution. Such attacks disrupt campus life and threaten the personal security and information of students, scholars, and staff. Federal, state, and university authorities should take reasonable steps to respond to and prevent such attacks, including by investigating and holding perpetrators accountable. In addition to the harm to the targets, such threats undermine academic freedom and democratic society generally.