Largest School District In Iowa Faces Cyberattack
You've heard of school and classes being canceled because of too much snow, freezing cold temperatures, or icy roadways but you rarely hear of classes being canceled because of an internet battle. 30,000 students, in Iowa's largest school district, had their classes canceled for a second day, as technicians continue their battle to restore the computer system.
According to KCRG, Des Moines school district officials received an alert about a possible cybersecurity event, which lead to the cancelation of classes yesterday (1-10-23) and today. (1-11-23) There hasn't been any clear information on whether or not the school district will be open on Thursday or Friday.
Matt Smith is the interim superintendent of Des Moines schools and he said when systems like this go down, it impacts everything and they still aren't sure what exactly happened to the system. He told KCRG,
When our system is down, it impacts every aspect of our organization. Everything from school bus routes to lunch menus is controlled through the computer system. It was a cybersecurity event that we can’t confirm yet until we run through all of our diagnostics and all of our protocols to get the forensics back to understand that specifically. What I can tell you is we are operating as if it is a ransomware attack just to be sure.
One area of concern to many of the Des Moines District staff memebers was receiving a paycheck. In the year 2023, a vast majority of employees (of any business) are paid via direct deposit. According to Nacha, about 93% of U.S. workers receive their paychecks via direct deposit. The good news for the nearly 5,000 district staff members is they will still be able to get paid.
KCRG reports, these attacks often lead to encrypted data and remain unless businesses or government leaders agree to pay some kind of fee. As for the students, it may seem like a free few days off but Smith also mentioned the students will be "making up the days they missed this week."