What to Know
- The Souderton Area School District is dealing with a ransomware attack
- The district won't reveal the full extent of the malware infiltration.
- “Our priority is to remediate the disruption and encryption caused by the ransomware & to restore the district and its services to normal."
A Montgomery County school district has become the latest apparent victim of a ransomware cyberattack that struck just after the start of the new school year.
On Monday, Souderton Area School District Superintendent Dr. Frank Gallagher said that the district’s computer network was hit by the malware attack on Sunday, Sept. 1. Students had returned to class the week before.
“District administration immediately shut down the district-wide computer network and disabled Internet connections to prevent further damage,” the district said in a news release.
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The district said it’s working with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, FBI, Secret Service, local authorities and a cybersecurity firm to recover from the cyberattack.
“Our priority is to remediate the disruption and encryption caused by the ransomware and to restore the district and its services to normal operations as soon as possible,” Gallagher said.
Cyberattacks have crippled organizations from large to small, including recently crippling nearly two dozen Texas cities and hitting Philadelphia courts earlier this year.
The attacks, which have been happening for years, can set governments back decades. Libraries can't use electronic checkout systems. Police can't access electronic records, and utility bills must be paid with paper checks rather than online.
Agencies that fail to keep reliable backups of their data could be forced to choose between paying ransoms or spending even more to rebuild lost systems.
When reached for comment, the Souderton district had no further comment about the incident and wouldn’t reveal the impacts, if any, on the 6,380 students enrolled across Souderton’s high school, two middle schools and six elementary schools.