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Wallenpaupack Area School District became victim of a ransomware attack


Wallenpaupack Area School District has suffered from a ransomware attack, thus forcing the school to close and shut down all the 3,000 computers district-wide on Sep. 5, 2019. This is the second major cyber attack against computer systems of the Wallenpaupack Area School District in this calendar year.


Referred to a "ransomware" attack where the perpetrator sends a virus for locking the systems and then demands money to restore them, is a nationwide problem, said Superintendent Michael Silsby to the school board on Sep. 9, 2019.


The letter to staff and parents by Silsby on Sep. 10, 2019, which was also publically posted on Facebook page of the Wallenpaupack Area High School, said that "the Wallenpaupack Area School District's technology network has been compromised by a ransomware intrusion".


Director of the Wallenpaupack Department of Information Services, Steven Nalesnik, told to The News Eagle that two central servers serving the whole district got affected in this attack. Once these servers went down, then the computer screens starts displaying a message that directed the victims towards an email address so as to ask for the payment instructions. The files were also locked up and encrypted. However, Silsby stated that the district was fortunate that almost all their files were backed up.


Troy Bystrom, the new consultant of the district for 2019-20 school year, and the technology team are working together to restore the operating systems. The letter of Sep. 10, 2019, by Silsby also states that through assessment of systems by technology team and Bystrom, it does not seem that employee or student information was compromised.


The IT department of the district along with the security consultant will take appropriate measures for improving the security of district. Furthermore, the school staff will get training about how to identify the phishing emails.


In the meantime, the district has been forwarding information to FBI CYWTACH team who is investigating these matters in an effort to end this kind of criminal activity.


In the letter of Sep. 10, 2019, Silsby also said that "we are attempting to get Powerschool and all educational programming operation as soon as possible. Thank you for your patience and cooperation".


» SPAMfighter News - 9/27/2019

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