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Norman Schools Isolate Desktops, Laptops After Cyber Attack

An Oklahoma school district is advising students that their Google accounts and some handheld devices are safe, but they should not use district-issued desktops or laptops due to a ransomware attack last week.

Cyber attack - use once only
Most states don't laws requiring public agencies to report cyber attacks.
(TNS) — Norman Public Schools on Wednesday told families it was safe to use some district-issued devices and to access NPS-associated Google accounts, as long as "it is not from a district-issued laptop or desktop computer."

On Friday, the district reported experiencing a "malicious ransomware attack" and warned families to discontinue using computers and other NPS devices.

"For now, NPS-issued laptops and and desktop computers should remain unused," the district reported in a cybersecurity update. "Our Technology Services team, working in conjunction with third-party data forensics and incident response specialists, are in the process of restoring network operations."

Ransomware is a type of malicious software that threatens to publish or blocks access to data or a computer system, usually by encrypting it, until the victim pays a ransom fee to the attacker."

It was unclear Wednesday if a ransom fee has been paid by the district.

In the update, the district told families and employees it "it is now safe" to use NPS-issued iOS or Android devices (iPhones, iPads, smartphones, tablets) and to access NPS-associated Google accounts, including Gmail, Google Docs, and Google Drive, "as long as it is not from an NPS-issued laptop or desktop computer (MacBooks, Windows laptops, etc)."

Additionally, the district reported that it did not expect any disruption to district payroll operations.

"As part of this ongoing network restoration process, some systems are being reset or restarted," the district reported. "In some cases this has caused some minor disruptions, such as irregular bells or intercom activity at schools. We appreciate your patience as we continue to work through these issues."

©2022 The Norman Transcript (Norman, Okla.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.