IT Dept digs District 205 out from Ransomware hack


Scrubbed clean: Teachers' laptops await pickup after hard drive replacements and loss of innumerable documents.

Seth Monteleone, Sports Editor

Online grading books are rendered useless, attendance sheets converted to paper, lesson plans hand-written, and office communication is limited as the IT staff works intensively so that the school district will not have to give into this cowardly ransom.
The ransomware that is currently holding the online Rockford Public School district servers hostage is an advanced type of malicious software or virus that denies users access to its systems or data. It then demands that one pays money in order to regain access.
On Friday, September 6th, this software was released upon the Rockford Public School System’s servers and caused widespread outages throughout the district. The IT department immediately shut down all of the systems connected to the district, which prevented it from spreading. They also rerouted all the phone lines so some amount of contact was available between parents and the school. The School Board brought in a private IT firm that specializes in hacks to restore internet access to their storage drives and IP-based phones.
Many of the staff within Rockford Public Schools and at the Headquarters were unable to resume their duties, which was difficult for many to accept. Mrs. Maria Saavedra, Assistant to Principal Carter, detailed how she accommodated for these new changes in doing her job.
“You become innovative when the need is there. You think outside the box. You analyse and come to a consensus and finally, you just follow through,” said Mrs. Saavadra.
The impact of the attack, however, has not been fully evaluated. It is unknown how much student and staff data may have been accessed. With so much to undo, it might take longer than expected to bring our servers fully back online. However, the schools within the district carry on, accommodating the essentials required to keep each school afloat to its best ability, thanks to the IT department and each school ́s resilience.
¨They (the IT Department) have been very proactive and have provided us with various options and different approaches,” said Mrs. Saavedra.