(USNewsMag.com) – A school district in West Virginia was forced to close on Monday, February 6th due to what it calls a cybersecurity incident. The initial breach occurred on Friday when Berkeley County Schools were faced with phone and internet outages caused by issues with their network.
The Superintendent of the district, Ron Stephens told members of the public that the investigation into the incident was ongoing, and that the county was collaborating with law enforcement and cybersecurity professionals. While many parents have voiced concern that sensitive, personal information may have been breached, Stephens indicated in a statement on Friday that they were still working to determine the scope of the incident and whether or not such data had been accessed. He said that if it were discovered that the databases housing students’ private information was breeched those people would be notified directly.
The network used by Berkeley County Schools remained offline Monday, prompting a day off for the district’s over 19,000 students. As Stephens indicated in his initial statement, the network cannot be fully restored until the investigation into the incident is complete for security reasons. According to an announcement on the district’s website, the Board of Education meeting scheduled for Monday would continue as planned, but would not be broadcast due to the ongoing network outage, indicating the investigation into the incident is ongoing.
Due to school closures caused by the global pandemic, many school districts across the country have turned increasingly to technology as a method of education. Some students in Berkeley County have Chromebooks that were issued to them by their school. While the district’s network has remained offline, Stephens assured students and staff that there was no evidence to indicate that their school-issued devices had been compromised, and that the computers could continue to be used safely.
Cyberattacks on U.S. school systems have increased in the past few years due to the proliferation of technology in the classroom. Cybersecurity experts have warned school systems are an easy and appealing target for ransomware attacks.
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