Baltimore County Schools close after a ransomware attack

Baltimore County Schools were hit by a ransomware attack that forced them to close leaving more than 100,000 students out.

19:49 GMT, Tuesday, December 1, 2020

State and federal law enforcement officers were alerted by school authorities, who began an investigation into the incident.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 115,000 students attended classes online at the time of the attack. School officials announced that the district’s website, email system, and rating system were compromised by the ransomware attack.

Superintendent Darryl L. Williams said that when the school is going to resume its activities, he has no timetable.

Officials from the schools announced the offices would be open.

“This provides our employees with much-needed time to continue working to set up the educational platform and to communicate further steps on devices,” the school district said on social media.

The unfortunate news is that the occurrence was not a surprise, the Baltimore County Public Schools department was alerted the day before the district was struck with the ransomware attack by state auditors with multiple cybersecurity vulnerabilities. The Baltimore Sun released the audit.

“Within the BCPS computer network, there were significant risks,” the audit concluded. For example, it was not necessary to track surveillance operations over sensitive infrastructure, and the data network was not adequately protected. In this respect, instead of being segregated in a separate secure network zone to reduce risk, publicly available servers were placed in the BCPS internal network.

A collection of updates from the Baltimore County Schools :

We understand how challenging this situation is for families and staff, and we thank you for your patience as we work through this crisis.