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Albuquerque Schools Find No Data Compromised in Cyber Attack

With their investigation complete, Albuquerque Public Schools found that a cyber attack that closed down the district for two days in January did not result in unauthorized access to private data.

(TNS) — Albuquerque Public Schools on Wednesday said no data was “compromised” during a cyber attack that closed schools across the district for two days earlier this year, and a district spokeswoman said the FBI and others were advising school officials not to discuss the incident in more detail.

“At this time, we have completed the investigation and restored our critical systems to full functionality,” the district said in a statement posted to its website. “A review of the evidence related to this incident did not identify unauthorized access to or exfiltration of any data on the APS systems.”

The school district was attacked in mid-January, and classes were canceled Jan. 13 and 14 because of the ransomware attack, according to APS news releases. Classes resumed Jan. 18 after a holiday weekend.

A ransomware attack is one in which malware encrypts files and then a ransom is demanded in exchange for decryption, according to the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.

KOAT-TV reported that the district spent $300,000 to hire contractors to investigate the attack. Monica Armenta, an APS spokeswoman, said the district hired Tracepoint for about $250,000 for a forensic review and spent $50,000 on data privacy attorneys in the wake of the attack.

“There’s a lot of this information that we are purposely and at the direction of the FBI and others not releasing,” Armenta said.

The district’s news release said all the district’s computer systems have been restored.

APS was hit with a cyber attack at around the same time as Bernalillo County government. That attack led to the closures of county buildings and disrupted operations at the Metropolitan Detention Center because the jail temporarily lost access to its surveillance cameras.

©2022 the Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, N.M.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.