Jerome School District falls victim to ransomware

Published: Dec. 11, 2017 at 5:47 PM MST
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The Jerome School District experienced some internet and phone issues early Monday morning, falling victim to ransomware.

Chris Gibson, IT director of the district, said the virus happened early Monday morning around 3 a.m. and when he came into work at 6:30 a.m., he noticed the phone and internet not working.

Gibson said he's not sure if it as a file that someone downloaded or an email that came in.

"It is a ransomware file and the ransom is requesting a payment in bitcoins," he explained.

He said they don't know how much they were requesting as they asked them to call.

"Basically, if we wanted the key to the encryption, we have to pay a company money to get that encryption fee and then we can just restore our files," he explained of ransomware.

The district did not pay them, but they do have backups of files and will be restoring them.

"We'll have to rebuild every single teacher computer, every single student computer from scratch and restore all of their files from backup so that takes an inordinate amount of time," Gibson said.

He said the virus protection they have did not seem to stop the virus or even see it.

Gibson said the phone line was restored in a matter of hours, the district being able to call out, but not receiving calls. The files will take from days to weeks to restore.