NECC Observer

The student news website of Northern Essex Community College, Haverhill and Lawrence, Mass.

Students continue to reflect on cyberattack

As most students attending Northern Essex Community College know, a few weeks ago at the beginning of March, the school underwent a cyber attack on its systems causing panic that personal information about staff and students were accessed from the systems.

For many students, the stress of not knowing if their personal information was accessed was made even worse by the stress of

Blackboard and the NECC portal also being down, where students turn in assignments, sometimes on a daily basis.

For some, like Meg Groff and Janie Dunn, it wasn’t a big hindrance, Groff saying “It didn’t have a huge impact on me because I don’t take that many classes, but it was frustrating not being able to use blackboard. It was kind of surreal thinking about a cyber attack. Felt like something out of a movie.”

Dunn said “Personally I didn’t have a bad experience with the cyberattack. I received all the emails and was like, okay, and instead of doing homework I went to work. It was honestly nice not having to do homework each day. “

For others like Lexi Tavares and Kaily Burke, it was pretty frustrating.

When talking to Tavares, she said “It was incredibly frustrating, with the already multiple snow days and spring break being the following week, it made me feel like I was doing remote work for most of the beginning of the semester.”

Burke said, “My classes were already decently behind the syllabus schedule with all the snow days. I had my second of four exams pushed to be after spring break for two different classes, and that long a wait for an exam can kind of hinder your performance if your understanding has gotten a bit stale. No one in my classes had access to their online homework, which meant we couldn’t do it if we wanted to. There was no way to be productive or take advantage of those days off.”

Most students interviewed for this story said they felt as though the school handled it the right way with Groff, Dunn and Tavares all coming to this conclusion.

In response to this Groff said, “I feel like the school handled it as best they could. They kept everybody updated and I appreciated that.”

Dunn said, “I thought the school handled it really well and did a great job updating us on what was going on and when school would be back open or closed.”

Whereas Tavares said, “I believe for the safety of staff and students, I understand why school was closed, however, the longevity of this cyberattack was definitely affecting my motivation and completion for school work.”

When asked the same question, Burke stated, “No, I don’t think the school handled it the right way. Not only because we were kept in the dark, but I honestly think it could have been prevented. Navigate was susceptible to this happening because security could have been taken more seriously. We all ended up facing the consequences.”

Burke, was asked an additional question as well, as they also work in the math center of the school as well as being enrolled in classes. When asked how the whole cyber attack situation affected their job on campus and if it was a stressful situation to deal with, Burke said, “I work in the math center. Everyone who came in to see me was as behind as I was. Feelings appeared to be mixed. I think most were more concerned about their private information being leaked than anything else, but needless to say no one was happy.”

Needless to say, emotions and feeling around this situation on campus were very mixed.