Bridgeport Schools computer network hit by ransomware attack

January 8, 2019 GMT

BRIDGEPORT — The city school district’s computer network was attacked Friday by a significant virus caused by an outside entity that intended to hold district data hostage in exchange for a ransom, district officials say.

No data was breached, according to Schools Superintendent Aresta Johnson who said the district’s Information Technology staff worked through the weekend to stop the attack. The recovery apparently is ongoing.

In an message sent to staff on Sunday evening, Jeffrey Postolowski, director of technology services, said the district was requiring a mandatory password change to get into the system. Emails were apparently not part of the attack, according to School Board Chairman John Weldon.

So called ransomware attacks have occurred to other organizations, companies and school districts around the world. Ransom is demanded in exchange for unlocking data. In this case, no ransom was reportedly paid.

Postolowski, in his message to staff, said his department is working with its security consultant and the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center of the Department of Homeland Security to contain the outbreak from damaging further networks and systems.

Staff were warned not to bring in personal computers and to report any strange activity.

Johnson said the situation did not impact PowerSchool, the technology portal that is used to store student information.

lclambeck@ctpost.com; twitter/lclambeck