Ransomware knocks school district in Key West, Florida, offline for the week

Intermittent service outages since the attack was detected last Sunday have had minimal impact thanks to data backups, administrators say.

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A ransomware attack has left the computer system of a Florida county school district partially down for the week, according to officials, but no district data has been compromised. School officials said on Thursday that they expect the network to be up and running on Friday.

An IT employee of Monroe County School District in Key West, Florida, encountered the ransomware, known as GandCrab, last Sunday. District Superintendent Mark Porter told the Miami Herald that the school has had limited access to its systems, but it hasn’t seen any inappropriate or missing data since the attack, including payroll data.

Pat Lefere, the district’s executive director of operations and planning, said that his team is rebuilding each server from scratch to ensure that they’re clean. Symantec, the district's internet security provider, issued a patch, but had not seen the strain of GandCrab used prior to the attack, Lefere said.

The district did not receive any demands in relation to the ransomware. Attackers commonly withhold sensitive or critical data from the victim in order to receive payment, such as bitcoin. Lefere said that his district performs backups, so it hasn't experienced any data loss — and thus aren’t at the mercy of the attacker.

The district had gotten its administrative office, three high schools and another school up and running on Thursday, but a Comcast fiber cable that was cut nearby disrupted internet service for the day, extending the outage.

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Education IT News, K-12, Privacy & Security, Florida, ransomware

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