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Gadsden schools computer network is latest hit by ransomware attack

Gadsden Classroom
Students are seen working on computers in a Gadsden school classroom in this file photo.

GADSDEN, New Mexico -- The Gadsden Independent School District's computer network has been attacked by a ransomware virus that has shutdown the system, a district spokesman confirmed Tuesday.

In an message sent to ABC-7, GISD spokesman Luis Villalobos said the virus infected "internet and communications systems" on Monday, "affecting all schools and support service locations."

The virus infecting the GISD network is believed to be RYUK, which computer security experts say is a type of ransomware that encrypts files to block access to them until a ransom is paid. Security experts say large organizations are typically the targets of RYUK.

No personnel or payroll data has been breached in the attack, according to Villalobos.

"Currently the district is estimating that internet and phone communications will not be restored  possibly until the end of the week," he said. "Technology personnel are currently working on sweeping the system and installing software to protect and clean the system."

It's the second time GISD has been the target of ransomware. A similar attack last year caused a disruption and led to the district having to reconstruct its email system.

Gadsden is the second southern New Mexico school district to be the victim of a ransomware attack in recent months. A hacker attack last October forced the shutdown of the entire computer system for the Las Cruces Public Schools.

Computer security experts noted that over 1,000 local school districts nationwide were victims of computer virus attacks in the past year.

Article Topic Follows: Education

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Jim Parker

Jim Parker is the former Director of Digital Content for ABC-7.


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