Dorchester District 2 is working with a technology solution company called Enterprise IT Solutions to conduct a full security assessment of the district’s network.
The decision comes in light of a ransomware virus that attacked the district’s technology data center during the summer. No student or staff information was accessed or compromised, according to the district.
Board members have given the go-ahead for the assessment. The company is going to give a report in September.
Assistant Superintendent Glenn Huggins said the district wants to do a full security assessment; the company can look for weaknesses in the system as well as offer solutions and recommendations to the district.
A message from the district, posted on the district website, states the virus disabled the district’s operating system and database on 25 of 65 technology servers. The data was encrypted and rendered inaccessible.
The message states the district contacted the State Department of Education Chief Security Officer, SLED, other law enforcement agencies and legal counsel for assistance in investigating the depth of the situation.
“A thorough investigation determined this was a ransom request and there was no identity theft involved and no student or staff information had been accessed or compromised,” the message states.
The investigation determined no evidence that any student or staff information had been compromised or accessed by anyone, and several school districts in the state experienced a similar corruption of servers.
A second technology company assisted with negotiations for release of the encrypted data and a ransom of $2,900 funded through the district’s insurance coverage was paid to decrypt these files. This resulted in data on 24 of the 25 servers being successfully retrieved and restored, but the data on one server was corrupted rendering it inaccessible by anybody, according to the district.
Data on this one corrupted server is being re-entered by district and school staff members using hard copy files. 2016–2017 hard copy data of 32 students out of over 26,000 was not available and is currently being redeveloped through the joint efforts of parents, teachers and staff. The district states these families were contacted.
“Again, the school district wants to assure you that this situation involved a ransom request, and at no time was there any identity theft of student or staff information,” the message states. “We appreciate the support of our parents and staff as we work to provide our students the best possible learning environment and to ensure all student and staff information is secure.”