Hacked Computer System Delays Classes for New Jersey Schools

The school district’s computer servers in Livingston, N.J., were hacked by an outside entity and infected with “ransomware,” the superintendent said in a statement, resulting in delayed classes on Monday.

by Avalon Zoppo, NJ Advance Media Group / November 25, 2019
Shutterstock/David J. Mitchell

(TNS) — The Livingston, N.J., School District’s computer servers were hacked by an outside entity and infected with “ransomware,” the superintendent said in a statement Sunday.

Superintendent Matthew Block said district servers were compromised by someone not associated with the Livingston community and infected with ransomware. Hackers use ransomware to encrypt data and render it useless until a payment, or ransom, is made to regain access.

All of Livingston’s public schools will have a two-hour delayed opening Monday as the district addresses the technology problems.

Livingston’s computer system has been down since Friday and the issue could take weeks to resolve, Block said. He did not say in his statement whether the district would pay a ransom to regain access to its data.

Block called the incident “a whirlwind for district personnel” and said police are investigating.

“The Livingston Public Schools were the victims of a crime, and this crime has been reported to the Livingston Police Department and other appropriate law enforcement agencies,” Block said. “We are working hard to make as much technology as possible available to our students, and are taking steps to ensure our daily operating logistics are as smooth as possible.”

Cyber attacks on school districts and municipalities are becoming more common, he said.

Earlier this month, computer systems in Union County suffered cyber attacks that affected employees’ emails.

Last November, Galloway Township public schools lost $200,000 in a “cybersecurity incident.” Login credentials of staff members were compromised, according to an NJ Advance Media report.

Block said internet access, college transcripts and student emails are still available. However, staff members will need to log into their email accounts in a different way, he said.

A meeting is scheduled in the Livingston High School auditorium at 7 p.m. Monday to answer questions from parents about the cybersecurity incident. Members of the district’s technology department will attend the meeting.

©2019 NJ Advance Media Group, Edison, N.J. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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