Waterloo Region District School Board hit by cyberattack
Board unable to say if money was paid to regain access to computer system
The Waterloo Region District School Board says it's working to restore its IT system and safeguard personal information of staff, students and families after it was the target of a cyberattack.
"We intend to do whatever is within our ability to resolve this issue," said a statement from the board's communications officer, Estefania Brandenstein.
Staff, students and their families have been informed of the cyberattack, the statement said. Future information about it will be shared directly with people who were impacted.
Brandenstein said she was unable to say what kinds of files — if any — may have been accessed or if the school board paid money to regain access to its system.
"We would ask for patience as experts have advised that it could take weeks to fully investigate and gain answers as to how this occurred and what has been impacted," the statement said.
"This is serious and concerning, and unfortunately, cyber incidents are occurring more frequently in the education sector."
Schools not immune
In May, there was a cyberattack against Regina Public Schools, which shut down all internet-based systems. A note left on the computers identified an organization called BlackCat/ALPHV as being behind the attack.
Experts say that group is well known for employing ransomware attacks, locking access to computer data until ransom is paid.
Peel District School Board was hit with a cyber attack in January 2021 when many students were taking classes remotely.
This region has seen other cyberattacks in recent years:
- In 2019, the Waterloo Catholic District School Board reported a "significant malware" attack on its computers, although the board said it did not believe any personal and business information was obtained.
- Waterloo Brewing was hit in November 2019.
- Hospitals in Listowel and Wingham were hit in October 2019.
- The City of Stratford agreed to pay $75,000 in Bitcoin to regain access to its systems from a hacker in September 2019.