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Rockford Public Schools became victim of a ransomware attack


Rockford Public Schools (RPS) District 205 located in Rockford city of Illinois became victim of a ransomware attack that has downed the school systems, including the phone lines, as per a letter of the district to their staff and parents. On Sept. 6, 2019, the RPS has observed issues with both its internet and phone services.


All digital and electronic systems of the district got affected. In their Facebook post of Sept. 9, 2019, RPS District 205 said that "the electronic and digital systems outage districtwide will continue this week and could last several days. The outage was triggered by ransomware, and we're working with our Information Technology team and an outside computer forensics firm to restore access".


The district hasn't shared any information about how this attack takes place or the amount of ransom demanded by the hackers. The officials said that this matter is currently under investigation, and thus have refused to make any further comment.


However, the RPS has confirmed that their access to Internet was severed as well as the phone access at their schools was intermittent. As a result, the management was rerouting all the phone lines that are down to the phone systems that were working, so that the guardians/parents can still contact the schools via phone.


The RPS District 205 said in a notice that "our No. 1 priority is the safety of our students and staff. This includes protecting staff and students' data and information. We have field experts helping our IT team evaluate the impact of this outage. We are working to get a complete picture of this incident and understand any impact to our data".


It was also announced that all the RPS 205 schools as well as offices will stay open, whereas the district will work to recover from this ransomware attack. RPS District 205 in their Facebook post also said that they are working hard, so as to make sure this outage has least impact on their students along with their education. The staffs are adjusting the lesson plans, so that teaching as well as learning can continue. School activities like attendance, lessons on the Smart Boards, as well as online assessment tests have been modified, so that it can be done manually.


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