Ransomware Forces Hartford, Conn. to Delay First Day of School

A ransomware attack is affecting several critical systems in Hartford, Connecticut and has forced the city to delay the first day of school.

Ransomware Forces Hartford, Conn. to Delay First Day of School

Hartford, Connecticut — With much of the U.S. getting a crash course in remote learning over the last few months, cybercriminals are taking advantage and are taking municipal networks hostage. These hackers are banking on getting paid given how critical that technology is right now.

That is currently now affecting schools in Hartford, Connecticut after a ransomware attack delayed the first day of school for both online and in-person students. The attack caused an outage of city’s critical IT systems, and they weren’t restored in time for school, the city’s school department said in a statement.

One of the affected systems is the software that provides real-time bus route location information to the district. About 4,000 students in the city ride the bus to school.

“Everyone at Hartford Public Schools was ready to welcome back our beautiful and capable students in person and remotely,” the school district said. “We will provide updates when we have additional information to share.”

The city’s main newspaper, The Hartford Courant, reported that a recent investment in cybersecurity minimized the damage of the virus. Last year, the city spent between $400,000 and $500,000 for an extra layer of cybersecurity that detects malicious activity.

Tuesday was supposed to be the first day of school for both online learning and the first in-person classes since the COVID-19 pandemic shut down physical classes in March. According to the school department’s website, Pre-K through Grade 2, Grade 6 and Grade 9 were scheduled to start school Tuesday in what the school system calls a “staggered” opening.

Students have the ability to opt out of in-person learning in favor of completely remote learning as well as hybrid learning.

Classes are scheduled to resume on Wednesday.

Hartford is just the latest district to be impacted by ransomware. Last month, the Metropolitan Community College of Kansas City was the victim of a ransomware attack, as was Illinois Valley Community College in April. In January, a ransomware attack shut down Richmond Community Schools in Michigan.

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