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Ransomware attack brings down Rockford Public Schools’ phone and internet

Ransomware attack brings down Rockford Public Schools’ phone and internet
  • A ransomware attack has caused an outage of electronic and digital systems in Rockford Public Schools Dist. 205.
  • Although the outage is expected to last for several days, it has been announced that schools will remain open.

What happened?

Rockford Public Schools fell victim to a ransomware attack last week. All electronic and digital systems in the district have been affected. It has been announced that all schools will remain open while the district works on recovering from the attack.

What we know

Last Friday, Rockford Public Schools observed issues with their phone and internet services.

  • School activities such as attendance, lessons on Smart Boards, and online assessment tests are modified to be done manually, or postponed.
  • Teachers have been instructed not to use any district-issued devices or access websites like Google Classroom until further notice.
  • With phone access affected, lines have been rerouted to phone systems that are working so parents can still contact the school.
  • Some of the district’s expense to recover from the attack is said to be covered by insurance.

The district’s website is currently down and emails are not working. The outage is expected to continue this entire week.

What we don’t know

The district has not shared any information on how the attack happened or how much ransom was demanded by the hackers.

  • Officials said that the matter is under investigation and have refused to comment further.
  • Parents and teachers have raised concerns about the security of personal information in this attack. “It’s a big worry, but we can’t say. We haven’t been clued in on that,” says Mel Gilfillan, president of Rockford teachers union.

Rockford District’s response

“Our No. 1 priority is the safety of our students and staff. This includes protecting staff and students’ data and information,” said the district in a notice.

  • CDW, a computer forensics firm, has been hired to help restore access.
  • To ensure safety, school administrators and staff are equipped with cell phones and walkie talkies respectively.
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