Massachusetts Public School District Cancels Online Classes after Alleged Cyberattack

More than 60 Springfield Public Schools shut down remote learning after a cyberattack affected the school district’s IT network on October 8.

Yesterday, the second-largest school district in Massachusetts, offering classes for over 25,000 students, announced the cancellation of virtual classes due to network systems issues.

“Due to issues with our network, school and remote learning activities are canceled for the remainder of today (Thursday, October 8),” Springfield Public Schools said in a tweet.

An additional update posted by school officials on Facebook, initially attributed the network issues to repeated power outages:

“UPDATE: Classes are now canceled for the remainder of the day.
Please note: Due to power outages, we are experiencing technical difficulties with the Student Applications page (the webpage that loads when you first open your internet browser).”

According to Bleeping Computer, which cited a source in the cybersecurity industry, the network disruptions were due to a ransomware attack, discovered on the morning of October 8.

Although officials have yet to disclose additional information on the attack, Mayor Domenic J. Sarno and Superintendent Daniel Warwick issued a comment on the security incident.

“Out of an abundance of caution the Springfield Public Schools have issued an early dismissal from school today and have temporarily suspended remote learning due to potential threats to the network that have been identified,“ the statement reads.

“Early this morning, the Springfield Public Schools identified a potential threat to their IT network. To ensure that the District can effectively mitigate the potential incident and restore access to all software and services as quickly as possible, school and remote learning activities are canceled for the remainder of today, Thursday, October 8th, 2020.It is anticipated that the risk will be cleared and resolved in the near future so that remote learning may continue.”

While it remains unclear if the cyberattack has been fully contained, the latest Springfield Public Schools post announced that remote learning will resume October 9.

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