ROCKINGHAM COUNTY, N.C. -- Rockingham County Schools Superintendent Dr. Rodney Shotwell says no data was compromised after a malware attack on some district computers in December.
In a press conference Tuesday afternoon, Dr. Shotwell explained the school system's antivirus programming stopped the virus from opening up and spreading.
"No social security numbers, no payroll was compromised," he says.
This all started on December 11, when some school workers opened an "incorrect invoice" email that appeared to come from the school's antivirus vendor.
Dr. Shotwell says the virus originated from three locations: Bethany Elementary; Western Rockingham Middle School; and the district's Central Office. The virus did not spread to any other schools. On December 19, their last day of school before break, teachers and staff were notified of the problem and told they needed to leave their computers at school over break. Then, the district went offline to work with a tech company to try and clean up the virus over the break.
During an emergency school board meeting, the board voted to bring in ten IT professionals to fix the problem through the district's winter break.
"I think we've done everything we could have done to protect our system," Dr. Shotwell reflects.
Rockingham County School Board Vice Chair Bob Wyatt says 20 servers needed to be repaired, adding the cost of repairs totaled about $314,000. Dr. Shotwell confirmed that amount Tuesday. He says that money will come out of the unrestricted fund and it's already been approved by the board to use.
Shotwell estimates an additional $834,000 may be invested in replacement devices for teachers and employees that may have been affected by the attack. For now, the district is recommending employees and students to check personal devices that may have been previously connected to a school device.
The district does have about 200 replacement computers for principals and some staff members to run certain operations, like their computerized lunch system. But as of right now, most teachers will be without their computers through at least the beginning of February.
The district also points out the attack only impacted computers that run on Dell systems. The Chromebooks students use were not affected.
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