Kitchener-Waterloo

Waterloo Region District School Board hit by cyberattack

The Waterloo Region District School Board says it's working to restore its IT system after a cyberattack.

Board unable to say if money was paid to regain access to computer system

Waterloo Region District School Board sign outside their main office.
The Waterloo Region District School Board says it's been the target of a cyberattack, and staff are currently working to restore the IT system and safeguard personal information of staff, students and families. (Waterloo Region District School Board/Twitter)

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:

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kate Bueckert

Reporter/Editor

Kate has been covering issues affecting people in southern Ontario for more than 15 years. She currently works for CBC Kitchener-Waterloo. Email: kate.bueckert@cbc.ca

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