All members of the MCCCD have access to free protection software

Photo courtesy of Glendale Community College Instagram page.

GLENDALE, Ariz. – In response to the recent cyberattack, Maricopa County Community College District is providing all students and teachers with free antivirus software.

Updates are still in progress to set up the software, according to the latest update, March 26. It will be available to every single student and faculty member at no cost and is compatible with both Windows and Mac systems. Up to 10 devices can be secured with the new software.

Glendale Community College President, Dr. Teresa Leyba Ruiz, along with others in the district, urged everyone to reset their passwords as soon as possible. Passwords were breached in midst of the outage, making the reset of passwords highly encouraged. GCC posted a reminder, March 24, and since then more reminders on their website and the MCCCD website have been displayed.

“Back in high school I had a VPN/ virus protection that I needed, and I have since renewed my subscription this week. I had protection and then I got rid of it because I thought I didn’t need it anymore, but now I feel that I need it again,” said Josh Aikens. Students such as Aikens and many others are feeling significantly less secure after the attack. GCC is trying to mend that fear with such virus protection software.

Along with the program, there is now a two-factor authentication system to log in to any MCCCD related platform. The new security measure is supported by Duo Push and allows three different methods to log in. Students and faculty members can either download the Duo Push app, receive a call, or get sent a text message. All three methods send a passcode to the user trying to log in to ensure that it is truly them.

On Friday, March 19 around 8 p.m., all students and faculty received a RAVE ALERT notifying them that a network outage caused all classes to resume a week later than planned. In a curious act of déjà vu, the semester was pushed back again with all classes restarting March 29.

All systems associated with MCCCD including Canvas, Human Capital Resources, the Student Center, student and faculty email, and the phones were completely shut down. If one was logged in during the time of the attack, they were still able to go about as normal, but for those who logged out, it stayed like that for days.

“Everything that I had planned to do right after spring break is on for this week. The only thing is that I couldn’t post it. I couldn’t even retrieve it because I was locked out of my email for a few days,” Gina Desai, a teacher from the reading/mass communication program, said. She mentioned that she felt bad for her students with anxiety. She wanted them to feel as comfortable as possible in live online classes, but the sudden push back of the semester threw everything off. “I was concerned about those students who really needed the time to catch up,” Desai said.

Unsurprisingly other teachers at the school felt the same. Amalia Gheorghita, an English teacher, even wrote a letter to each of her students letting them know that they should not worry. She did the same last year, when GCC announced that the rest of the Spring 2020 semester would be completed online.

“I just wanted to reassure them and let them know I’m there for them…I think it provides assurance to the students when they don’t know what to expect,” said Gheorghita. The teacher emphasized the importance of staying positive during times like this. She knew her students already had enough anxiety related to school, so she wanted to try to eliminate as much of the extra stress as possible.