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Officials: Broken Arrow Public Schools victim of ransomware attack

Posted at 4:17 PM, Aug 01, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-19 19:20:25-04

Officials with Broken Arrow Public Schools say the district is the victim of a ransom-ware attack.

In a statement to 2 Works for You, school officials say the district believes the cause of a issues with their network and server was caused by "criminal actors attempting to disrupt the operations of our district."

"Immediately upon becoming aware of the issues, we began taking steps to investigate the situation and notified our cyber insurance carrier," Director of Public Relations Charlie Hannema said in a statement. "The Board of Education voted to enter into agreements with leading cybersecurity experts to assist us with the investigation and recovery efforts and to enhance the security of our digital environment."

The experts told the district that they are a victim of a ransom-ware attack, the statement said.

Cyber security expert Jeffrey Miller owns Oklahoma Commercial, Professional and Cyber Insurance Agency. He says a ransomware attack like the one on Broken Arrow Public Schools is basically malware that hackers use to demand money.

"What the ransom is - they’re saying ‘we’ll give this information back to you, if you pay us money,’" Miller said. “In the first quarter of 2019, ransomware attacks went up 105% from the first quarter of 2018. But interestingly enough, the ask-for-ransom, the amount, went down.”

Miller says you should never pay that ransom, and district officials say they don’t plan to. They’ve also contacted the FBI as they work with their own cyber experts.

School officials say student information has not been leaked, but Miller says parents and faculty should keep an eye on their information, just in case.

"Monitor their own information, monitor their own credit, monitor their own accounts to make sure if their information gets compromised nobody is using it to harm them along the way," Miller said.

In a statement to 2 Works for You, Oklahoma State Department of Education says they are aware of what's going on and are helping any way they can.

“We are aware of the ransomware incident that has affected Broken Arrow Public Schools and have offered to support the district in any way we can," said Executive Director of Communications Steffie Corcoran.

Broken Arrow still plans to begin the school year in three weeks on August 21, and is working to restore their software.

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