Springfield Public Schools district hit with ransomware

Pierluigi Paganini October 08, 2020

The Springfield Public Schools district in Massachusetts was forced to shut down its systems after a ransomware attack and closed the schools.

The Springfield Public Schools district, the third largest school district in Massachusetts, was forced to shut down its systems after a ransomware attack. The district, which has over 25,000 students, 4,500 employees, and more than sixty schools that were closed after the incident.

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the schools of the district were using remote learning model.

The district initially announced that the schools were closed due to “issues” with their network, but later it conformed that the problems were the result of a ransomware attack.

“Out of an abundance of caution the Springfield Public Schools have issued an early dismissal from school today and have temporarily suspended remote learning due to potential threats to the network that have been identified,” Mayor Domenic J. Sarno and Superintendent Daniel Warwick said in a statement.

Mayor Sarno and Superintendent Warwick, who initially announced the suspension of remote learning, has also confirmed the ransomware infection.

“Early this morning, the Springfield Public Schools identified a potential threat to their IT network.  To ensure that the District can effectively mitigate the potential incident and restore access to all software and services as quickly as possible, school and remote learning activities are canceled for the remainder of today, Thursday, October 8th, 2020.” reads the official announcement. “It is anticipated that the risk will be cleared and resolved in the near future so that remote learning may continue,”

Bleeping computer, citing a source in the cyber security industry, was the first media to attribute the issues to a ransomware attack.

At the time the Springfield Public Schools has yet to reveal the family of ransomware that infected its systems and the number of devices impacted.

Unfortunately, it is likely that such kind of incident will become even more frequent in the incoming months.

In early September, the Hartford School District in Connecticut also suffered a ransomware attack that caused the delay of the school’s opening.

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Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – hacking, Springfield Schools)

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