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Monroe Public Schools Recovering from Ransomware Attack

The Detroit-area school district’s access to phone systems and software tools has been restored following a ransomware attack June 10. Officials last week were unable to say whether data had been impacted.

(TNS) — An investigation into a “sophisticated cyber-security attack” that targeted Monroe Public Schools remains ongoing.

In a statement July 1 to the district community, Supt. Julie Everly said the district’s phone system and software tools, including Outlook, Power School and Google products, have been restored following a ransomware attack that occurred June 10.

Technology staff identified suspicious activity within the district's network and promptly took the network offline as a cautious measure, Everly said.

“At this time, we cannot say for certain what information or data, if any, has been impacted as a result as our investigation is ongoing,” Everly said in her statement. “We will reach out to potentially impacted individuals directly, if necessary. Please know Monroe Public Schools is committed to keep your information safe.”

Shortly after becoming aware of the security breach, Everly said the district enlisted the help of forensic professionals to investigate the matter, launching an investigation into the scope of the attack.

The district implemented additional measures to further protect data, she said, adding that law enforcement officials also were notified.

One such agency is the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), which is conducting its own independent investigation into the attack, according to MPS officials.

The Department of Education also was notified of the incident, according to Everly.

She thanked the district’s employees for their work during the time.

“Many thanks are extended to our Technology Department staff for their dedicated work during this time and to the professionals who have assisted us throughout this process,” Everly said. “Your patience and understanding are appreciated.”

The district first notified the community of the attack in a letter on June 17. It advised MPS students, staff and family members to remain vigilant and only respond to communications that were legitimate. The district also advised the community to never share digital credentials such as login information or passwords if solicited for such data.

Ransomware has become increasingly common in recent years. Such cyber attacks occur when malicious parties seek to infiltrate digital networks and steal data or lockout the network's operators.

Bank systems, hospitals, businesses and government agencies have been the target of such attacks. Some attacks seek financial payments for the release of such networks.

FBI officials encourage targets of such attacks to inform their local field office of such occurrences and advise victims not make payments. The nearest field office is located in Detroit.

©2021 Monroe News, Mich. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.