RPS 205: Ransomware caused outages, could last days

Published: Sep. 9, 2019 at 12:45 PM CDT
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Rockford Public Schools Dist. 205 confirms a ransomware attack caused the widespread outages that began Friday.

The district is not sharing a dollar amount or how the system was hacked.

In a letter to staff and parents, the district says the outages to the digital and electronic systems could last several more days.

School will remain in session. Calls are being re-routed to phone lines that are working.

Here's the full notice that the district sent out:

RPS 205 parents/guardians and staff:

"The electronic and digital systems outage districtwide will continue this week and could last several days. The outage was triggered by ransomware, and we’re working with our Information Technology team and an outside computer forensics firm to restore access.

Ransomware is a type of malicious software or virus that hackers use to deny access to systems or data. After the initial infection, the ransomware attempts to spread to shared storage drives and other accessible systems.

The outage includes our Internet and information systems. Phone access at our schools has been intermittent. Like last week, we’re rerouting any down phone lines to working lines, so parents/guardians are still able to contact schools via phone.

Our No. 1 priority is the safety of our students and staff. This includes protecting staff and students’ data and information. We have field experts helping our IT team evaluate the impact of this outage. We are working to get a complete picture of this incident and understand any impact to our data. We will provide additional updates and information when they’re available.

All RPS 205 schools and offices will remain open during the outage. We have shared plans for the week with our principals, and we are working hard to ensure this outage has minimal impact on our students and their education. Staff are adjusting lesson plans so teaching and learning can continue. Staff are taking attendance and tracking student data by hand.

We appreciate the patience from our staff, students and families. We’ll share more information when it’s available."