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Dorchester 2 schools making changes after ransomware attack

September 1, 2017

Dorchester County School District 2 is making some changes to protect student information and improve cyber-security after it fell victim to a ransomware attack over the summer.

Spokesperson Pat Raynor said the district will relocate its backup servers and train teachers in best online practices to avoid a repeat of the hacking.

“We actually have already purchased a new server that is in place, and the data that’s having to be entered is being re-entered on that new server,” Raynor said.

The district told parents in a letter Wednesday that its data center had been attacked with a ransomware virus that disabled the district’s operating system and 25 of its 65 computer servers. Law enforcement agencies determined that someone was demanding ransom for the release of the data on those servers, and the district ended up paying $2,900 with its insurance coverage to recover the files.

“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 letter said.

Looking forward, Raynor said the district has entered an agreement with Enterprise IT Solutions, which will conduct a free assessment of the district’s technology network and present its findings at a September school board meeting. At that time, she said district officials will decide what action to take based on their findings.

“They’re doing a very thorough assessment,” Raynor said.