Baltimore County Officials Say No Data Stolen During Ransomware Attack
TOWSON, Md. (WJZ) -- Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski said Monday officials don't believe any data was stolen during a ransomware attack that shut down Baltimore County Public Schools for several days last month.
However, the county school system will offer credit monitoring for any Baltimore County students and staff.
"It makes me all the more disgusted that there are very bad actors out there who would choose to do this attack on our community's children," Olszewski said, "at a time when they are already at their most vulnerable."
The cyberattack took down the county's website on Thanksgiving week, and it forced the third-largest school district in Maryland to cancel classes for three days.
The district's information technology department was able to find a work-around that allowed teachers to resume online instructions with all students, approximately 115,000 pupils last week.
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BCPS officials said they do have cyber attack insurance, but wouldn't provide any additional details on that.
Last week, teachers and staff had to line up to turn in computers that may have been infected. As for student Chromebooks, the head of IT believes they're safe.
"We are highly confident the student devices were not compromised at home," Jim Corns, the school system's IT director, said.
Kathy Thompson has three children in the district. She is grateful for the steps leaders are taking.
With so many things, including learning, happening online due to the pandemic, she said attacks can happen.
"Honestly, I am not very concerned (about the childrens' data being compromised," she said. "I think it's very generous of the county to offer the credit monitoring to make sure that nothing happened."
Markus Rauschecker, a cyber attorney with the University of Maryland, said there's an upside and a downside to free credit monitoring.
"It helps to keep you up to date on how your credit is doing and it will certainly alert if somebody starts using your credit in a nefarious way," he said. "The only problem with credit reporting is it really only helps you after the fact."
County police are investigating the cyberattack, but investigators have not revealed who hacked the district's website or how much ransom they demanded.
"This is a long, drawn-out investigation and unfortunately there are no other details that I can comment on," Police Chief Melissa Hyatt said.
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