Central New York Schools Struggle with Ongoing Cyberattacks

U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer said he would be calling on the Department of Homeland Security to investigate the attacks that have continued since April.

by Elizabeth Doran, Syracuse Media Group / October 30, 2018
Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer. Shutterstock

(TNS) — More than 50 Central New York school districts have been hit with nine cyber attacks so far this year, the most recent attack occurring on Oct. 4, U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer said today.

Schumer, speaking at the Central New York Regional Information Center in in DeWitt today, said he is sending a letter today to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security asking for help investigating the attacks.

The CNYRIC, which provides technology services to more than 50 local school districts, was first hit several times in April, and then again in September and October, Schumer said.

The attacks have caused Internet outages in all the school districts served by CNYRIC, but have not caused any damage or allowed any information to be released, Schumer said.

Schumer said it's critical to stop these attacks before they continue, and before they potentially cause damage.

"No information has been taken, and nothing stolen, but we have to do something because they could cause damage in the future,'' he said.

CNYRIC officials said the cyber attacks, which overload the system and result in an inability to access the network, resulted in 35 hours of disruption at area schools.

Other RICs across the state also have been hit, but not as frequently as Central New York's center, officials said. There are 12 centers across the state.

CNYRIC is working on new cyber attack prevention, and is about 50 percent complete on this project, said OCM BOCES District Superintendent Jody Manning.

The attacks are known as Distributed Denial of Services attacks which are designed to overload the system, meaning no one can access it.

Attacks came on April 11,12,13,18 and 20 and again on Sept. 6, 7 and 27. The most recent one was on Oct. 4.

At one point, the attacks delayed students from taking statewide exams.

Schumer said investigators need to determine who is doing this and why.

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