Computer

WATERTOWN, CT (WFSB) -- Another school system in the state is dealing with a ransomware attack.

Watertown’s Superintendent of Schools Rydell Harrison confirmed that staff discovered the attack last Thursday.

Because school officials found the hack quickly, Harrison said “at this time there is no indication that our web-based systems that house student information and confidential information were accessed.”

School system hacks appear to be a growing trend.

These attacks keep getting more sophisticated, so while school systems can have security software in place to filter out suspicious emails, attackers can disguise their virus as a bill or link from a trusted source.

Watertown police and the FBI are now investigating the ransomware attack.

Deputy Police Chief Joshua Bernegger says the FBI is involved because ransomware often crosses state and even international borders.

He also says the FBI has already been investigating the virus, but was not sure if it was the same exact virus hackers used to take control of the computer system for Wolcott schools.

Allan Liska, of Recorded Future, recently said in an interview with Ch. 3 that ransomware hackers are adjusting as security improves.

“A lot of these attacks, especially the phishing attacks, are designed to look like regular business email,” Liska said.

Wolcott school officials decided to rebuild their computer system instead of paying the ransom. However, they'll lose access to compromised files, including teacher lesson plans.

It's not clear yet what Watertown will do, but Harrison said "our staff is focused on teaching and learning and is working collaboratively to ensure that our operations run as smoothly as possible.”

Liska says paying the ransom may seem like a simple way to get back data, but it has consequences.

“Just beware that you’re helping to make the bad guys better at their jobs,” he said.

Copyright 2019 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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