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CUNY Central failed to raise notice of the recent malware attack at Baruch College

iraj zia

In the ever-evolving landscape of higher education, effective communication between CUNY officials and students is paramount, especially in emergencies.

Despite limited information among staff, CUNY Central administration offices should have notified and kept communications regarding the network outage incidents at Baruch College to all CUNY campuses.

Baruch underwent a malware attack incident that impeded students’ everyday lives at Baruch, forcing them to scramble back to a remote learning format and causing cancellations of all on-campus activities.

Fortunately, personal data was not affected by the malware attack according to The Ticker.

Some departments must be applauded for attempting to reach out to students regarding the incident, including the Starr Center, Baruch’s Undergraduate Student Government and the Writing Center which notified students of their canceled services on their social media platforms.

Additionally, students received emails from Academic Advisement and Baruch Communications.

The timeliness of notifications was a notable critique of communication among the Baruch community, as it leaves much to be desired. In a rapidly shifting situation, every minute counts.

Such confusion could’ve been avoided had a statement been posted on the CUNY Central website. CUNY Central is ideally the administrative hub of the public university. Its job is to oversee the university’s policies, programs and operations across its various campuses.

During confusing times, CUNY Central is crucial for coordinating and implementing response efforts across CUNY. This rule applies to cyberattacks, such as the recent one on Baruch.

The website published an article in December 2014 on how to navigate a ransomware attack in the case that an attack would arise on any of its campuses. They recommended backing up important documents and keeping aware of untrustworthy emails.

While their information is helpful, students were forced into a remote setting with messages being sent out at varied times and through different forms. As Baruch departments were hindered from communicating with students, CUNY Central should implement a standardized emergency response system to improve clarity of messages.

The current state of communication between CUNY officials and students during emergencies could be more efficient. CUNY Central should be a student’s number one source for clear, accurate information in times of crisis, especially when student resources are under attack.

The lack of a unified platform or protocol for tech-related emergencies is a glaring issue at CUNY. Inconsistent methods of communication, such as emails, text messages or social media posts, often lead to confusion and delays in students receiving important updates.

Students received an email about the potential ransomware attack, but other students may have only heard about it through class group chats or social media.

In a rapidly changing world, effective communication is not to be considered a luxury, but rather should be treated as a necessity.

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About the Contributors
Jahlil Rush
Jahlil Rush, Production Assistant
Jahlil Rush is a Production Assistant for The Ticker.
iraj zia
iraj zia, Photography Editor
Iraj Zia is the Photography Editor for The Ticker.
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