No Confidential Data Accessed During Attack
WINTHROP — Town Manager Austin Faison, Superintendent Lisa Howard and Police Chief Terence Delehanty report that Winthrop Public Schools and the Town of Winthropwere the victim of a cyber attack on Thursday, but that no confidential data was accessed in the attack.
On Thursday, Feb. 4, the district’s technology investigations team informed administrators that the Town and school district servers were the target of a malicious computer attack which prevented students and teachers from utilizing internet-based resources such as Google Classroom, email, video conferencing and other services while in school buildings. This attack also caused a disruption for town municipal offices.
The attack, known as a Distributed Denial of Service attack (DDoS), is designed to overwhelm the bandwidth resources with large amounts of data, which is what prevented students and teachers from accessing the online learning resources. No student, employee or financial data was accessed as a result of the attack.
“I appreciate everyone’s patience as we meet these challenges head-on and continue to hold student learning and safety as our top priority,” Superintendent Howard said. “I will update you again as we move through the process of recovering from this unanticipated and unwarranted attack on our school district and town.”
“Thank you to all who worked swiftly to address this issue and protect the confidential data from this attack,” Town Manager Faison said. “We are following all mandatory reporting requirements regarding data privacy breaches, and will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates to the community as needed.”
School and Town officials are working with their internet service provider and technology experts to correct the issues and restore service as soon as possible. Additional safeguards will also be implemented to protect the servers from future attacks.
At this time, there will be no changes to the Winthrop Public Schools hybrid learning schedule, though students may encounter some interruptions until all alternate internet connections have been set up for teachers.
The Winthrop Police Department, in conjunction with state and federal agencies, are investigating the matter and are working to identify the source of the attack.