NY School District Cancels School After Cybersecurity Threat

NY School District Cancels School After Cybersecurity Threat

The school district delayed its first day of school as a precaution.

The Monroe-Woodbury Central School District in New York delayed its first day of school after hackers tried to hold the district’s network for ransom money.

Before the hackers could take control of the system, the district’s cyber security monitoring service kicked in and shut the network down.However, as a precaution, the district decided to cancel classes at its seven campuses.

Parents were notified via email of the attack.

"We recognize that for our families this unexpected schedule change may be difficult,” the email to parents from Superintendent Elsie Rodriguez read. “The safety and security of our students is always our first priority and we believe this extra time will allow us to better prepare for a smooth first day for our students and staff.”

The district did welcome students back on Thursday.

District officials told CBS New York they do not believe any of their data was breached.

“Fortunately, at this point we don’t believe that any of our data has been breached, but we have a cyber security assessment team that is coming in and they will go through this process,” Rodriguez said. “It will take us a while, so for the time being we’re using paper and pen. We’re going back to the old days.”

According to Mimecast’s State of Email Security report, the education sector is seeing more and more ransomware and email attacks.According to the report, 56 percent of organizations in the education sector saw an increase in phishing with malicious links or attachments in the last year.

Additionally, when those organizations experience a ransomware attack, 73 percent experience two-to-five days of downtime, according to the report.The tri-state area has been seeing a trend of cyber attacks on school districts.

A school district in Nassau County ended up paying the hacker $88,000 to get the district’s mainframe back.

“Ransomware is prolific right now and there’s more of it going on in government and education institutions than in private industry. We seem to be targets now,” Anthony Carfora of the Lupinskie Center for Current Technology told CBS New York.

About the Author

Sherelle Black is a Content Editor for the Infrastructure Solutions Group at 1105 Media.

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