Cyber attack on St. Landry Parish School System under investigation

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“We’re going to try and be as normal as possible in terms of day to day operations until this situation is resolved.” -Patrick Jenkins, St. Landry school system superintendent

LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY)– Computers inside the St. Landry Parish School System (SLPSS) are offline after staff discovered a cyberattack Wednesday morning.

The Department of Education and the Louisiana Cyber Assessment Team are working with the district to uncover any possible damage.

Schools will continue as usual at all but two locations. Although email and other critical services are down, student information, teacher payroll, and the district’s webpage are all outsourced and unaffected by this cyber threat.

St. Landry School System Superintendent Patrick Jenkins explained, “As a precaution, we have gone offline with all our technology in St. Landry School District.”

No one is touching a keyboard or mouse, except the technology team. They the threat Wednesday morning.

“Our email wasn’t working properly and so forth, so that was kind of some signals that we were having some possible threats,” said Jenkins.

SLPSS’s first response was to shut everything down and call the Department of Education and as well as the State of Louisiana Cyber Assessment Team.

“We hoping again that there is no damage or minimal damage, but we won’t know that until we do an assessment,” expressed Jenkins.

Getting services back online after a cyberattack requires a few steps. First, you must get your systems offline, isolating them from attackers.
Then recover what you can from a backup system to find if the attacker changed any of your code. Finally, restore services making sure you are more prepared for future threats.

Superintendent Jenkins said the school system’s servers do host emails, archives, and other systems that improve work capacity. Some progress has been made in recovering the data already, including learning there is no ransom hiding data behind an encryption.

“School will continue as normal as possible,” Jenkins said. “We are going to be limited in terms of our technology use, but our teachers are professionals.”

Only two of SLPSS’s 37 schools will not meet Thursday, those being alternative schools in Opelousas and Eunice. Their education is primarily computer-based, so nearly 100 students will have excused absences.

“We have many safeguards that we’ve put in place to mitigate these things, but in the event that we do have some issues regarding to our cyber attack, we are going to resolve those as soon as possible,” concluded Jenkins. “We are going to be working every day. Phone systems are still working, and we will continue to provide quality education to all students.”

The following activities or professional developments have been canceled for the rest of the week:
-Educator Academy
-Biology Hub Training (Thursday)
-ELPT Testing Meeting (Friday)

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