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Tech School 'Prevented Catastrophe' with Antivirus, Backup

Wilkes-Barre Career and Technical Center in Pennsylvania reportedly thwarted a cyber attack this week with backup procedures and by shutting down its network, resorting to remote instruction on Thursday.

cloud computing concept showing a cloud hovering above blue lines of data with arrows indicating data transfer
(TNS) — A cyber attack on a server at the Wilkes-Barre Career and Technical Center was discovered Wednesday, and antivirus and backup procedures "prevented a catastrophe" and "a lot of problems," Administrative Director Anthony C. Guariglia said Thursday.

The regional vo-tech high school in Plains Twp. shut down its computer and Wi-Fi network, along with all computers, on Wednesday and used a flexible instruction day to provide remote instruction to students on Thursday, Guariglia said. Computer crews were working inside the building Thursday making sure computers were not infected, and cell phones and laptops were not infected, Guariglia said.

The server that was attacked had payroll data for the school and some of the school's member school districts, but all employees are expected to be paid Friday because the data was backed up on a cyber cloud, Guariglia said. The member school districts were not affected, other than being shut out of accessing payroll data on Wednesday, Guariglia said.

The school is using another flexible instruction day on Friday. Remote instruction through Google Classroom was not affected by the cyber attack.

Students are expected back at the school on Monday. They were at the school Wednesday without computer access.

Guariglia suspects the school was the victim of a ransomware attack, but he said he is not aware of anyone receiving an email demanding a cryptocurrency ransom. Ransomware is a type of malware that prevents access to computers or data stored.

School information-technology staff is working with law enforcement and Computer Visionaries Inc. to determine who is responsible for the cyber attack and how it happened, Guariglia said.

Around 750 students in grades 9-12 attend the Wilkes-Barre Career and Technical Center and typically spend half of the school day there and the other half at their home district high school.

Members of the Wilkes-Barre Area, Crestwood, Hanover Area, Greater Nanticoke Area and Pittston Area school boards serve on the committee that governs the the Wilkes-Barre Career and Technical Center.

©2023 The Citizens' Voice (Wilkes-Barre, Pa.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.