Center Line schools suffer ransomware attack, classes resume Wednesday

Center Line Public Schools was the latest victim of a ransomware attack this week.

The school district informed parents they were canceling classes on Tuesday to allow time to get their systems back up and running after their network and server were infiltrated. Center Line Public Schools are set to reopen on Wednesday.

The systems impacted by the ransomware attack include all forms of communication – telephones, security cameras, food service applications, Wi-Fi, and all educational software, according to the district.

"Ransomware essentially locks up your systems and your data, making them not accessible to those that need it," said David Derigiotis, who specializes in internet security at Flow Specialty. 

This is part of a disturbing trend, he added.

"K-12 school districts are some of the most targeted organizations in the entire country," Derigiotis said.

The assistant superintendent of Center Line Public Schools said that the district has managed to navigate through the attack and anticipates that most systems will be operational soon.

However, parents are still concerned. 

The father of a Center Line Public Schools student, Shawn Wrobleywski, said he is worried the attack will put children at risk.

"They are minors," he said. "That is their information."

As the name would suggest, the online criminals who hacked the Center Line Public Schools system are holding information for ransom.

"There's typically two parts of the extortion that we see. They will take the data, exfiltrate it from the system, and then you will have to pay if you want that data to be kept quiet, to not let people know that it's been attacked," Derigiotis said. "And number two, if you want to get access to your systems back, you need to be able to pay so you can get that usability."

There is also the potential that the cyber thieves could have more.

So what can be done to prevent such attacks?

"It really comes down to how much have they prepared for this event. Do they have data back ups? Do they have the team that can come in and help them recover and respond to that kind of attack?" Derigiotis said.

In their email to parents, Center Line schools did say they are working with police and cybersecurity experts to get to the bottom of who is responsible for the attack.

As of Tuesday night, there is no evidence that personal information was compromised.