Education

Malware attack shuts down Chester County school computer network

In this May 13, 2017, file photo, a screenshot of the warning screen from a purported ransomware attack, as captured by a computer user in Taiwan, is seen on a laptop in Beijing. Over the weekend, Chester County school servers were hit by ransomware but no data was stolen or breached.
In this May 13, 2017, file photo, a screenshot of the warning screen from a purported ransomware attack, as captured by a computer user in Taiwan, is seen on a laptop in Beijing. Over the weekend, Chester County school servers were hit by ransomware but no data was stolen or breached. AP

The Chester County School District’s computer network has been shut down after its servers were hit with ransomware, a type of malware that may block users from accessing their own system, over the weekend, according to a statement from the district.

The Chester district’s technology staff has been working on the attack, and said no data was stolen or breached, the statement says. The ransomware may have gained access to Chester’s system via email.

“The message that appeared stated that the district’s servers had been encrypted and that a demand for an undisclosed amount of bitcoins would follow,” reads a statement from the district. “We were given an email address to communicate with the attackers, which has been ongoing.”

The district’s IT department backed up data and has taken extra measures to prepare for such an attack, according to the district.

Students and staff are using pencil and paper instead of laptops. They are not accessing the internet as the technology staff works to get the network back online, according to the district.

“We are operating as close to normal as possible and learning is still taking place, just with minimal use of technology. The network is shut down while we work through this process, which may take a few days,” a statement reads. “We would like to thank everyone for their patience as we continue to recover from this attack.”

Amanda Harris: 803-329-4082

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