ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — The Rockford Public School computer network was breached by a hacker who installed a “ransomware” virus, affecting all computer systems, which could last several days, according to district officials.

Ransomware is a type of malicious software or virus that hackers use to deny access to systems or data, and restricts that access until the victim pays the hacker for it to be restored.

RPS officials say they are working with an outside technology firm to restore Internet, access to their storage drives, and IP-based phones.

The district became aware of the attack last Friday, and was able to reroute the phone lines so parents were still able to contact the schools.

In a statement released Monday on Facebook, RPS said: “All RPS 205 schools and offices will remain open during the outage. We have shared plans for the week with our principals, and we are working hard to ensure this outage has minimal impact on our students and their education. Staff are adjusting lesson plans so teaching and learning can continue. Staff are taking attendance and tracking student data by hand.”

School officials say they are still trying to evaluate the impact of the attack, and how student and staff data may have been affected.


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