Guilderland Central Schools Hit With Malware Attack

Guilderland Central School District last week became the latest of many in New York to suffer a malware attack, forcing students back to remote learning today while the district works with specialists to investigate.

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(TNS) — The Guilderland Central School District is the latest local organization victimized by a malware attack.

District officials said the attack was discovered after technical interruptions occurred on Thursday, calling the incident a “cyber attack by a threat actor group which used malware to encrypt certain systems throughout the district.”

“The district is working diligently with specialists to investigate the incident, confirm its impact on our systems, and to restore full functionality as quickly as possible,” the district wrote on its website. “Law enforcement and all other appropriate authorities were immediately notified.”

School officials said the district is trying to determine if “any sensitive data may have been impacted.”

“At this time, they have not confirmed that any sensitive data was compromised, but plan to keep the community updated as more information becomes available.”

Due to the attack, all high school students were to learn remotely on Monday.

The nature of the malware attack is unclear but generally attackers demand payment in return for the promise to relinquish control of the organization’s computer system. Experts recommend that organizations keep complete and walled-off backups for their computer systems so that lost files can be replaced if a malware attack occurs.

A number of local governments have had to confront malware, including Albany, which continues to discover that the destruction of files is complicating criminal prosecutions in the county.

Albany shelled out roughly $300,000 to recover from the ransomware attack in late March 2019.

The costs covered destroyed servers, upgrading user security software, purchasing firewall insurance and other improvements to firm up the city’s systems following the attack that disabled some city government computers.

The town of Colonie’s computer system went down due to a January 2020 cyberattack, forcing many of its departments to run their operations offline, town officials said Friday, noting that systems should slowly start to come back online later in the day.

Hackers have struck school districts in Syracuse, Rochester and Watertown. Rhinebeck school administrators in 2016 got locked out of their system when hackers demanded $500 to fix the problem they created.

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