Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS), the largest school system in Virginia, is investigating a cyberattack on its technology systems. Ransomware group Maze has claimed responsibility.
On Friday, Sept. 11, FCPS sent an email to community and staff alerting them to "technical difficulties" experienced by its Internet service provider, Verizon. This caused glitches in distance learning for some students and staff, officials said. Those who experienced issues were asked to switch to asynchronous learning activities provided by teachers during that timeframe.
In a second letter sent later the same day, FCPS confirmed the ransomware attack and said the incident did not disrupt its distance learning program, which started last week. It's currently working with the FBI and its cybersecurity consultants to investigate the scope and extent of potential compromise of personal data.
The Maze ransomware group claims to have stolen private information from FCPS and has published some data online to prove it was behind the attack. Attackers uploaded a Zip file of information allegedly taken from the school and say they've only posted 2% of what they have.
FCPS says it will notify individuals and families if they learn personal data has been affected. In the meantime, staff and students are told to continue using their devices for school-related activities unless they're instructed to do otherwise.
This isn't the first major technology problem FCPS has experienced this year. In April, the school district experienced serious technical issues as it began to roll out its online learning platform.
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