Cape Cod Community College Recovers more than $677,500 in Funds from Cyber Attack

April 18, 2019

After a lengthy investigation by banking and government authorities, Cape Cod Community College recovered $677,594 of the $807,130 stolen a during cyber attack in November. The remaining $129,536 has yet to be recovered. The FBI has indicated there is no further information to share, because this is an ongoing investigation.

In late 2018, the College was targeted by criminals who gained access to College banking using a combination of malware and a sophisticated social engineering exploitation. The College fell victim to the attack and banking information was compromised. No personally identifiable data, including student or employee records, were compromised in the attack, and payroll and other financial services were not impacted. In the months since the attack, the College has worked closely with the State Comptroller’s Office, and an independent consulting firm, to monitor and review the College’s network security and best practices related to personal and professional cyber security.

“We are pleased to learn that this money has been recovered,” said John Cox, President of Cape Cod Community College. “Over the past four months, this incident has led to our institution becoming a model for the complicated dangers of cyber crime. As we move forward, with current cyber security measures in place and on-going training to build awareness as the nature of cyber crime continues to evolve, we now turn to the future of making this a teachable moment. There is much to learn from this experience for students, colleges and universities, and businesses large and small. The reality is that cyber attacks are happening daily, at many points within an institution. Everyone needs to remain vigilant, particularly when working with the Internet, as the battle to push back against thieves is waged every day.”

Since December, all College computers have been equipped with next generation end-point security software. We continue to press on the need for training and building awareness among users of the Internet. Cyber fraud evolves in ever more sophisticated manners to compromise users, and we are working to change the mindset among all internet users to question what they see online.

With the attack over, and the majority of the funds recovered, the College is now setting its sights on sharing its story.

“Attacks like this happen every day, at nearly every college and business,” Cox added. “With this reality, we know our story and our response can be valuable everywhere. Our hope is that this never happens to anyone again.”