Houston County Schools in Alabama delayed the school year’s opening due to a malware attack

Pierluigi Paganini August 04, 2019

It has happened again, for the second time in a few days, Houston County Schools in Alabama delayed the school year’s opening due to a malware attack.

The long wave of malware attacks against US schools continues, for the second time in a week, the Houston County Schools in Alabama delayed the school year’s opening scheduled for August 1st due to a malware attack.

“Students will now report back on Monday, August 12. Open House will be held on Thursday, August 8 from 3 p.m. until 7 p.m.” states the wtvy.com website.

“The delay is due to continued problems caused by a malware attack on the system’s server. This attack also affecting most phones at HCS Central Office.”

Even if there are no details about the attack, experts believe the Houston County Schools was hit by a ransomware attack and is currently recovering its systems.

The district decided to delay 7 days of schools, the infection impacted all the computer at the schools and phone systems, paralyzing normal operations.

Over 4,000 computer systems that were infected and recovery operations are time-consuming, teachers were not able to access the INow system that allow keeping track of student information and their schedules.

Victims of the malware attack have not paid any ransom to the crooks.

“We don’t know where this came from,” Ashford High School Principal Bubba Odom told WTVY.”We have no clue. They don’t either. The bottom line is, it’s more on them than it is on us. We’ve just got to take care of the kids.”

Schools are privileged targets for the crooks because of the lack of proper cyber security hygiene and the large amount of personal data they manage.

It is a joke for threat actors to compromise their networks and deliver any kind of malware, especially ransomware that allows them to quickly monetize their efforts.

In the last days, several schools of Louisiana were also targeted by hackers ahead of year’s beginning that is planned for the next week. Recently, the AP press reported that a fourth Louisiana school district, Tangipahoa Parish, is assessing damages caused by a cyberattack that its computer network.

The cyber attacks on Louisiana schools prompted an emergency declaration and have officials scrambling to mitigate damage ahead of the school year starting.

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Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – Houston County Schools, malware attack)

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