Park Hill School District Superintendent Dr. Jeanette Cowherd and her team updated the school board about the recent malware attacks on the district’s technical systems.
Response and Investigation:
Director of Technology Derrick Unruh shared how the crisis played out. He also outlined how years of technology team’s preparations and the board’s investments in network security, datacenter equipment and advanced backup systems paid off as the district responded.
He explained that what the district faced was a ransomware attack, with someone encrypting many files to try to force the district to pay a ransom. Ransomware likely got into the district systems when a student or a staff member clicked on an infected link in an email or website, which compromised their username and password. Because the district had fully secured backups, the district chose to recover on its own rather than pursuing paying the ransom.
He said the district’s investigation found no evidence of data being taken, and that the Secret Service and FBI agents the district spoke to confirmed that this was likely not the intent of the attack. In addition, the agents complimented the tech team on its recovery speed, reliable backups and on the thoroughness of the district’s investigation to quickly try to eliminate the threat.
Moving forward: Assistant Superintendent for Business and Technology Dr. Paul Kelly shared that the district’s work to recover from this attack is still ongoing. “We will do a complete forensic analysis of this attack, and we will work to make our systems even safer going forward,” Kelly said.
Support: Dr. Cowherd thanked the district’s technology department for working around the clock to get the systems up and running, and she thanked the community for all of the messages and gestures of support for this team.