South Redford schools closed a second day after cyberattack

Posted at 4:29 AM, Sep 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-21 05:20:47-04

(WXYZ) — A troubling trend that has been seen across the country is now in metro Detroit – cyberattacks on schools.

The South Redford School District is closed for a second straight day after falling victim to a cyberattack.

The threat is going beyond Redford, with the FBI and other agencies issuing a warning just two weeks ago to K-12 schools, saying criminal hackers will likely continue to escalate attacks on schools this year.

Last October, we took an in-depth look at how similar attacks impacted students and staff in two other local school districts.

Cyber Security Awareness Month: School districts, colleges are huge targets for ransomware attacks

An increase in cyberattacks is something federal officials have been warning about. In fact, just a couple of weeks ago, a large school district in Los Angeles dealt with a ransomware attack. Parents and students were surprised by what happened.

"I just told her she can't get on her Chromebook today, so we're cleaning instead!" Sheantez Kimling Mackey, a parent, said.

The district posted the notice on its website, saying in part, "student and staff data security continues to be a top priority" and instructing district families to again avoid using district-issued devices.

The memo goes on to say this is a time-intensive process but doesn't offer a specific timeline.

According to the district, the attack targeted its networked systems. It's a threat that's become all too common.

Federal cyber security experts warn that K-12 schools may be seen as lucrative targets for hackers, due to sensitive student data stored in school systems or in third-party tech companies. It's a problem that grew during the pandemic..

Between Aug. 14 and Sept. 12 of last year, Microsoft security intelligence found schools and colleges were targets of more than 5.8 million malware attacks – 63% of all attacks reported.

What's being done to prevent this?

The government accountability office last year issued a report suggesting that the U.S. Department of Education update its cybersecurity protocols. The last plan was made in 2010.