CLEVELAND, Ga. – White County School Superintendent Dr. Jeff Wilson said the system’s computer program was attacked by the ransom worm virus Monday.
The school system’s IT staff believes the attack could have originated somewhere in eastern Europe.
“Our tech guys reported something strange was going on Monday morning,” Wilson said. “Their quick work avoided what could have been a major crisis. Only two or three of our software programs were affected. The good news is that no student or staff data was compromised. They did not go after financial data or social security numbers.”
Wilson said the system has a very good firewall but added that this is the same virus that got into the NASA and CIA systems: “So, they are very good at this.”
Wilson added, “Typically, you would have to be in our system to break into our system.” The attack, he speculated, could have been facilitated by a student or teacher who needed to access information from home, allowing the hackers to open up an outside window into the system.
As of Wednesday, the system’s IT Department was working to correct the problem.
“We’re still investigating ways to prevent this kind of attack. We’re working with Georgia Emergency Management Agency’s (GEMA) forensic people. They are extremely interested in this kind of attack,” Wilson said. “They told us there were several other systems in Georgia that have been hit.”
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Acting on a recommendation from the state’s Emergency Operations Command and ahead of heavy rains, strong wind and potential flooding from Hurricane Irma, Gov. Nathan Deal today expanded the emergency declaration to include an additional 65 counties. The state of emergency now includes all 159 counties in Georgia. State government will be closed Monday and Tuesday for all employees except essential personnel.
Following a briefing from officials and visit with emergency responders, Deal will hold a media avail tonight at the State Operations Center at 6 p.m.
Follow this link to read the executive order.
For more information on hurricane preparedness, visit the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency website.