Alabama School District Thwarts Cyberattack; Serves as a Reminder to Other Districts
This latest incident highlights the importance of solid cybersecurity measures at schools.
Madison, Alabama — According to A Clark School study at the University of Maryland, computers are hacked every 39 seconds on average, affecting one in three Americans every year. Schools aren’t immune to the issues caused by nefarious online activity. Dealing recently with a cyberattack is Madison City Schools in Northern Alabama.
The technology team at the school district was alerted to a potential ransomware security threat last week, reports WHNT. Superintendent Ed Nicols made the decision to immediately pull systems offline to analyze the threat. The tech team identified an attempt to lock down the school’s system and hold it for ransom. Fortunately, the attempt failed, and no data or personal information was stolen or compromised.
Still, the incident is an important reminder to schools to invest cybersecurity solutions and closely and consistently monitor their computer systems.
“We are in the process right now of having to rebuild some of our servers, use our backups, redo some of the files, those types of things, but the extent of the impact across the district is probably far less,” says Nicols.
Madison City Schools may have dodged a bullet, but other schools haven’t been as lucky. Late last year another North Alabama school system, Huntsville City Schools, experienced a cyberattack that shut down the system’s computers just as many students were utilizing technology for distance learning.
Outside of Alabama, there was a recent malware attack at Park Hill School District in Kansas City, Missouri, which prompted school administration to cancel classes for two days. In another incident, Buffalo Public Schools in New York fell victim to a ransomware attack. The incident prompted an FBI investigation and temporary school closure.
Cyberattacks have become an all-too common occurrence and are increasing, necessitating stringent protection practices, especially while some schools continue with hybrid learning programs. As Campus Safety has previously reported, investing in cybersecurity solutions will save K-12 school districts money and time, as well as protect their reputations.