Online and in-person classes at Saskatchewan Polytechnic have been cancelled following a cybersecurity attack on the school.
In a statement, Sask. Polytechnic says it’s taking the matter “very seriously” and is working closely with “industry experts to minimize the extent of the impact."
“There is no reason to conclude at this point that any personal information has been compromised,” the institute’s statement reads.
Tech expert Marc Saltzman says personal information is just one of several different motivations for someone to ‘hack’ the system of a school.
“Their motivations may vary, could be financially driven, politically driven, maybe it's a disgruntled employee, that's trying to wreak havoc,” he said.
“In this particular case, maybe they're after people's information like credit card data and bank account information, or social insurance numbers that can be used for identity theft for financial gain.”
The school says the first priority is restoring online learning.
Classes have been cancelled until at least Wednesday.
“They should have some sort of protocols in place for cyber attack, if they don't they should, as as every organization should at every level,” said Saltzman. “It does vary on what kind of attack it was, we don't know, but hopefully they've got protocols in place to minimize the damage done by such an attack.”
Saltzman says the best way to protect yourself from an online attack is simple.
“It boils down to not using the same password for all your online activity, because once the bad guys can have access to that one password, now they're going to possibly apply it to all of your other online accounts,” he said.
“So it's a bit of a wake up call, not only do you need a good, long, and complicated password that's not easy to guess, or have software that can try to guess it, and not only should you opt for two FA or two factor authentication, but you can't use the same password for everything, because now you're vulnerable”
Sask. Polytechnic says its working with “external experts and law enforcement” to assess the extent of the hack.
The school has campuses in Moose Jaw, Prince Albert, Saskatoon and Regina.
An update on the situation is expected Monday.