Blackbaud: Shenanigans or Negligence?

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Posted Oct 4, 2020 at 16:54. Revised Apr 17, 2021 at 17:34.

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It is raining today at ChaosFarm, where JD received an email from Hamrammr. JD only knows Hamrammr by his handle, but some of the points he raises seem legitimate and concerning.  Is today’s rain washing up a serious concern, or is Hamrammr all wet?

Oberlin College and ControversyBlackbaud data breach

The financial management and endowment management issues which this committee has raised have apparently not been addressed, even 7 months after the request was made.

Hamrammr, an OberlinChaos reader, has written in with related concerns. JD was aware earlier that there had been a cyberattack on Blackbaud, but the College’s announcement of the attack made no mention of it being a ransomware attack or wwhether Oberlin had paid a ransom. This seems in line with the administration and BOT’s general disconnectedness.

The name Blackbaud itself is psychologically interesting since a baud is a unit of measurement for data transfer speeds. Moreover, if Hamrammr is correct it is clear that Blackbaud had made no meaningful backups of its data.

In the case of Oberlin’s data, it could have been regularly copied to a high capacity flash drive and could have been restored rather quickly had Blackbaud been following good security practices. Blackbaud would not have paid a ransom if they had been handling the data responsibly.

Hamrammr’s comments below suggest that he could be a lawyer. Before ridiculing him, remember that he might be far more legally competent than the officers of Oberlin College who somehow managed to make it through law school. Releasing the requested info could be problematic in some instances, but that should not be an excuse for concealing dirt.

Hamrammr’s concerns

In May a cybersecurity ransomware attack targeted Blackbaud, a third-party security firm hired by Oberlin College to secure the records of alumni and other donors who financially support the college. Reportedly the cybercriminal’s ransom demands were immediately paid; giving rise to the question of just what did these records contain that compelled such panicky submission to blackmail.

An in-depth nonpartisan investigation and public disclosure of Oberlin’s clandestine foreign and domestic donors is long, long overdue. While we’ve long been aware of Oberlin College’s ties to the Trotskyite Socialist Workers Party, it would come as no surprise if Oberlin, like Fordham, has hidden ties to the Chinese Communist Party. Pursuant to 20 U.S.C. § 1011f and on August 10, 2020 the U.S. Department of Education sent Fordham University a demand to “disclose and report statutorily defined gifts, contracts, and/or restricted and conditional gifts or contracts from or with a statutorily defined foreign source(s).” A similar inquiry into Oberlin College’s secretive funding sources should be demanded forthwith.

Now you can say in all honesty, Nobody told me!
/s/ JD Nobody (No pronouns!), OC ’61.

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Posted Oct 4, 2020 at 16:54. Revised Apr 17, 2021 at 17:34.
Retrieved May 11, 2021 at 02:27.
Copyright ©2021 Charles E. Dial. All rights reserved.

By JD Nobody

JD Nobody, OC '61, has a 54-year career in developing software. This involved IT application design and maintenance, software engineering, bank operations, and article composing software for The Business Torts Reporter. He was an administrative officer and ICBM launch officer in the U.S. Air Force.

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