Digital Privacy Industry News

Thousands of Student Records Remain Unrecoverable after Baltimore County Public Schools Ransomware Attack

The aftermath of the cyberattack that forced Baltimore Public Schools (BCPS) to cancel remote classes before Thanksgiving holiday is still unraveling, as school officials struggle to recover most of their student records and replace compromised devices.

According to an online media journal, the Student Information System (SIS) was fully compromised, and most student records are “presumed completely unrecoverable,” as per information provided by an unnamed BCPS employee.

Making matters worse, a backup of the SIS, housing students’ educational tools, grades, score tests and student identification numbers was apparently housed on the same server, rendering both systems inoperative.

Another employee also hinted that BCPS is struggling to track down any student data with the help of third-party vendors. “BCPS is coming up with new tools and workarounds because we don’t have access to old programs,” the source said. “They are using third-party programs or they are rebuilding.”

It’s not just student identification numbers and state test scores that may never be recovered. Employees using USB flash drives during the attack may have lost entire curriculums and lesson plans. The attack “wiped out everything,” an employee noted. “In some cases, teachers lost up to 20 years’ worth of lesson plans and curriculum.”

The school district has also scheduled students and staff members in possession of compromised school-issued devices to come in for replacements. “At this point in our recovery from the ransomware attack, we may have few updates as staff are digging deeply into systems and solutions,” BCPS said in an official update. “For all students and staff with a BCPS HP device, please come to any BCPS high school during the dates and times on the BCPS Device Reimaging Schedule to have your device replaced. You will trade in your device and receive a re-imaged device that has extra protection. This is an important step in our recovery. You will not get your device back.”

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About the author

Alina Bizga

Alina has been a part of the Bitdefender family for some years now, as her past role involved interfacing with end users and partners, advocating Bitdefender technologies and solutions. She is a history buff and passionate about cybersecurity and anything sci-fi. Her spare time is usually split between her two feline friends and traveling.