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Central Piedmont To Resume Classes Monday, Cancel Spring Break Because Of Cyberattack

Ken Lund
Central Piedmont Community College's main campus is seen in an undated file photo.

Central Piedmont Community College will start reopening classes Monday as it slowly recovers from a Feb. 10 cyberattack.

The college will resume on-campus and some online classes Monday. Spokesperson Jeff Lowrance says basic communication systems and online classes that are on a system called Brightspace should be recovered by then.

Online classes on the Blackboard system are being switched to Brightspace and will resume March first. Lowrance says it’s too early to say whether Blackboard material can be recovered.

"The college is working as fast as it can to get emails, phones, those sorts of things back up," he said. "We know folks in the community are trying to get in touch with the college. We just ask for their patience."

Lowrance says the FBI is handling all interactions with the attackers. He says the college’s IT department recognized a criminal attack and contacted law enforcement before the hackers made contact.

"The way it was moving through the network you knew it wasn’t a power outage or anything like that. It was behaving as if it was a cyberattack," he said.

Lowrance says he doesn’t know if the attackers have made demands. But he says the FBI doesn’t recommend paying the ransom because the hackers might not restore the data and payments make ransom attacks more attractive.

"Our focus has been on getting our systems back up and determining which ones are going to have to be rebuilt," he said.

Central Piedmont has canceled spring break to make up for lost time. The week of March 8 will now be used for classes.

Ann Doss Helms has covered education in the Charlotte area for over 20 years, first at The Charlotte Observer and then at WFAE. Reach her at ahelms@wfae.org or 704-926-3859.