RPS 205 targeted by ransomware over the summer

ROCKFORD (WREX) — Rockford Public Schools is still dealing with the fallout of a ransomware attack. But according to records obtained by 13 Investigates, this isn’t the first time the district’s been targeted.

According to school board documents, the district was targeted back in July due to an “antiquated” email archiver. As a result, the board unanimously voted to replace the archiver from a company called Quest to one called dIntradyn.

RPS 205 says it made the switch, but could not tell 13 Investigates when.

On Friday, the district announced computer systems and some phone lines were down. On Monday, school officials confirmed it was a result of a ransomware attack, and that the outage would last in to this week and for at least several days.

Ransomware is a type of malicious software or virus that hackers use to deny access to systems. Typically, hackers involved will deny access until a ransom is paid. RPS has not released details on what it’s doing to stop the virus.

However, in a letter sent to district staff, employees were told to stay off of district-issued devices, including laptops. They were told not to use systems like Google Drive, Outlook and other classroom tools.

In a letter to parents, the district said classes will continue and that teachers are adjusting their lesson plans accordingly. Attendance is being taken by hand.

“We have shared plans for the week with our principals, and we are working hard to ensure this outage has minimal impact on our students and their education,” the letter said.

The letter to parents also says safety is the district’s No. 1 priority.

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