Back-to-school Delayed by Ransomware Attack in Flagstaff, AZ

By:  |  Category: Blog Monday, September 9th, 2019  |  No Comments
Ransomware

Rightfully so, children’s eyes light up when you tell them they no longer need to attend school on a particular day. Be it a snow day, a holiday, or maybe a surprise family vacation. But there has never been a day off due to Ransomware, and in this case not just for one school but an entire school district.

Ransomware-Days may become an all too real occurrence in schools in the future, leaving parents scrambling for a babysitter, children excited for the afternoon off, and the faculty with a very large problem on their hands.

On September 5th 2019, the entire Flagstaff Unified School District (FUSD) cut internet connectivity from all facilities to stop the spread of malware discovered the day before. Without the internet to communicate between the district and the classrooms, all systems were forced to close leaving attendance, campus entry, and internal communications down and risking the safety of the students. FUSD then announced what would normally be considered a “snow” day, students were not required to attend for the remainder of the week.

FUSD and a third-party cybersecurity team are still assessing the situation and have not provided any information except that it is indeed a ransomware attack, and the attacker is demanding bitcoin in exchange for the files to be decrypted and released. Director of communications for FUSD Zachery Fountain has insisted there have been no discussions on paying the ransom, and their team is currently “cleaning” and strengthening security on any device touched by the malware before they reconnect to the web.

It must have been a long weekend in Flagstaff.

In recent months, school districts have been slammed by cybersecurity attacks escalating the need for better security.

A high number of attacks have also hit state and local governments throughout the United States. A report published in May this year states there have been north of 170 attacks since 2013 and 22 have them happened in 2019 – not including this attack or any that took place in the last several months.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem this issue will be slowing down any time soon.

FUSD is hoping school will resume Monday morning, and we’re hoping right along with them. Sometimes recovery for these attacks can take up to several weeks depending on the severity. This should be yet another wakeup-call to all school districts to ensure their cybersecurity procedures, protocols, and training is consistent. IT spending needs to be prioritized in already strained budgets.

If you need assistance with your cybersecurity needs give EnhancedTECH | DarkHound Sec Ops a call. Contact us at 714-970-9330 or reach us at [email protected]

Sources: https://www.govtech.com/security/Why-School-Systems-The-Rise-of-Ransomware-in-Public-Schools.html

https://azdailysun.com/news/local/fusd-still-fighting-ransomware-attack/article_b114260b-1cf3-5455-ac48-5df5c8e8633f.html

https://azdailysun.com/news/local/fusd-still-fighting-ransomware-attack/article_b114260b-1cf3-5455-ac48-5df5c8e8633f.html

Image Source: https://www.pexels.com/photo/building-ceiling-classroom-daylight-373488/

–Emmy Seigler

Samantha Keller

Director of Marketing and PR at EnhancedTECH
Samantha Keller (AKA Sam) is a published author, tech-blogger, event-planner and mother of three fabulous humans. Samantha has worked in the IT field for the last fifteen years, intertwining a freelance writing career along with technology sales, events and marketing. She began working for EnhancedTECH ten years ago after earning her Bachelor’s degree from UCLA and attending Fuller Seminary. She is a lover of kickboxing, extra-strong coffee, and Wolfpack football.Her regular blog columns feature upcoming tech trends, cybersecurity tips, and practical solutions geared towards enhancing your business through technology.
Samantha Keller
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