College of the Desert ‘cooperating with FBI’ on investigation into ‘computer network disruption’

Update: Wednesday July 6, 2022

College of the Desert has confirmed to News Channel 3 that it is working to mitigate the impacts of what administrators describe as a “computer network disruption,” according to Public Information Officer Nicholas Robles.

A federal investigation is now underway. COD administrators say they contacted the FBI as soon as they found out something was wrong on July 5.

“Right now we are cooperating with federal law enforcement, and they are conducting an investigation,” said Robles.

As of Wednesday, COD was working to restore any of the staff and student email accounts, phone lines, and school servers that were still not operating.

News Channel 3’s Jennifer Franco asked whether any students’ information may have been compromised.

“I don’t want to speculate as to what has been because we’re still doing our investigation,” said Robles.

In 2020, the COD website fell victim to a malware attack, wiping out access to online services and email.

News Channel 3’s Jennifer Franco asked school officials if the outage was a malicious attack too, but the college would not comment on that question, and said the FBI investigation is still underway. 

Jennifer Franco spoke with students on campus to see how it’s affecting their days.

“Canvas was still working thankfully so we can still do work,” said Zachary Contreras, a student at COD. “Right now we just came out of class, so we don’t have internet so that’s kind of an issue,” he added.

Another student said she was having issues being able to reach teachers.

“Yesterday I tried to email my professor saying how I wasn’t going to be able to attend class, and apparently he never got the email,” said Darinka Rivera, a COD student.

COD officials said internal and third-party IT teams are working to restore the school’s systems, but there is currently no specific timeline for when that will happen.

For updates, visit www.CODnews.org

Tuesday July 5, 2022

A computer outage was affecting student and staff access to various College of the Desert online services today.  

It was unclear what caused the outage, but college officials said access was restored by late Tuesday morning to Canvas, Adobe, and Microsoft Teams services.

While crews work to restore access, the school has set up a temporary website – www.CODnews.org – to provide updates and access for available student services resources, such as counseling and summer class resources.

“While the College’s systems are down, students will not be dropped from classes due to non-payment of fees. Classes are not being canceled or impacted. Staff are continuing to serve students through various alternative means,” reads a news release by COD.

●    Students can still reach the Counseling Office by utilizing “Cranium Café” with the link https://collegeofthedesert.craniumcafe.com/.
●    Summer class resources are available through Canvas with the link https://mycodus.sharepoint.com.
●    Zoom Classes can be accessed via student Canvas accounts.

School officials also said that COD’s text alert system will continue to be used to provide updates and information to all faculty, staff, and students at daily intervals and as information becomes available.

Efforts were continuing to restore access to other systems and programs.

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