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Finalsite Recovering from Cyber Attack That Impacted 5K Schools

Websites went offline last week after the college and K-12 digital communications and marketing platform was hit by a cyber attack. The firm said that there is no evidence that data was compromised in the attack.

Ransomware concept
College and K-12 digital communications and marketing platform Finalsite was hit by a ransomware attack last week that downed websites and communications systems for thousands of schools. Now, the company has announced that all websites are back up and running and that it doesn’t believe any data was compromised.

Finalsite spokesperson Morgan Delack told CNN about 4,500 schools in the U.S., and another 500 in other countries, were impacted.

Some districts took the event as a call to action. Connecticut’s Attorney General’s Office issued a press release that urged businesses and public agencies to treat the attack as a reminder that anyone can get hit by ransomware. Attorney General William Tong advised organizations to act now to shore up defenses by taking steps like adopting multifactor authentication, testing incident response plans and backing up data.

Finalsite first detected the ransomware on Jan. 4, prompting staff to shut down some systems and tap third-party forensic specialists to investigate, Finalsite said in a Jan. 10 press release.

“This incident was not directed at any specific schools, but certain areas in the Finalsite systems as a whole,” said the firm in its release.

The investigations into the incident remains underway, but the firm said that it currently has “no evidence” that its or its clients data had been stolen. The company also stressed that it does not hold sensitive payment, academic record or social security details on clients, only information like names and emails.

By 7:29 a.m. EST on Jan. 10, the company was reporting all websites restored and the eNotify application functioning again. Some integrations still remained in process as of 11:19 a.m. EST, which Finalsite said could result in issues such as preventing virtual campus tour files from loading and leaving some files and folders missing from File Manager.