Forsyth Public Schools Overrun with Malware

Forsyth Schools Hacked

Forsyth Public Schools, located in Montana was the victim of a major hack over the weekend.  They are uncertain when the hack began, but was identified on Saturday, April 1, 2017.  According to Last Best News, the school received three emails prior to the attack, saying they had to pay a ransom demand, or the hackers would overrun their servers and take their data.

This is not your typical ransomware attack.  In most instances, the ransomware strikes, locking the victim’s data, then a ransom demand is made.  In this case, it was backwards.  According to the school’s superintendent, Dinny Bennet, the student management systems have been restored, and no student data was lost.  However, the teachers were not so lucky.  Bennet reports,

“Most of their information—lesson plans, schedules and the like—was in the form of publicly available formats like Word and PowerPoint and stored on the district’s server. The district’s IT person is still working to recover the teachers’ files, so there’s still hope, but not that much.”

The timing of the attack was impeccable.  The quarter just ended, so final grades were expected to go out on April 4, 2017.  That has since been delayed a day due to the ransomware attack.

Other Ransomware Attacks

To see a full list of ransomware attacks that have taken place in 2017, you can click here. We have also created a ransomware map, see below, of the ransomware attacks that have taken place in the U.S.

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2 thoughts on “Forsyth Public Schools Overrun with Malware”

  1. @Robert, yes it is quite horrific, but School District systems are ran quite differently from your standard corporate networks (personally they shouldn’t be). While they may have local servers for their student information systems, and other student services, School district owned devices don’t usually connect to any “NAS” style system. Being a Lead Field Tech for a school in So-Cal, we just move to all cloud systems this last year, however training the Teachers to only save their work on their district cloud storage or even some type of removable storage has been a challenge. I’m sure it hasn’t been easy for them either, yet again they not have even tried. We do have File servers for our District Office so they can save “confidential” work locally. We are Disaster ready with several Redundancies at some of our sites throughout the district. Before I came in three years ago, they didn’t have that type of system. Unfortunately, most School Districts don’t. Hopefully, this was a wake up call that they need to have updated systems in place.

  2. Robert Eisenhardt

    It is horrific that the IT department DOES NOT HAVE A DISASTER RECOVERY PLAN!!!! This is really no different at base than a SERVER CRASH??? Hey, how often do you BACK UP THE DATA????? Morons

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