The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) resumed classes Tuesday after a district-wide cyber hack disrupted online capabilities over Labor Day Weekend.
The district said its online systems were up and running within two hours of the school day starting, then asked students and staff to reset their lausd.net passwords after not being able to access assignments and grading systems through the weekend.
“[Tuesday] our preliminary student attendance was 83%, which does not yet include full reporting from across the District,” LAUSD superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho said. “If Los Angeles Unified had lost its ability to run school buses, over 40,000 students would not have been able to get to school. If our food services or payroll system had been compromised, the implications both in the lives of students and employees would have been significant. We know today was challenging, but the impact of this incident could have been catastrophic if our teams and partners had not responded quickly and decisively, cut off the hacker’s access immediately and worked expeditiously to restore operational capacity.”
While ransomware attacks typically call for some type of payment by the hackers, LAUSD said no demands were made in this incident.
The federal government took over the investigation with the FBI, Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the Department of Education working to find a motive behind security hack for the nation’s second largest school district.
“Over the past 24 plus hours, we have benefited from the extraordinary level of collaboration and cooperation from our partners, but we would also like to highlight the special collaboration and the rapid deployment of resources to our school system by the Federal Bureau of Investigation,” Superintendent Carvalho said. “We have had no fewer than six special agents and staff helping our school system deal with this incident. We are truly grateful for this unwavering commitment to pursue those responsible for these attacks.”
The hack did not reach LAUSD critical infrastructure involving employee healthcare, nor payroll and did not affect student bus transportation or food distribution.
LAUSD said its systems are being monitored 24/7 and it does not “currently have evidence of any new security threats.”
The district’s main focus is getting staff and students to update their passwords and continue daily activities.
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