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Henry County Schools restoring internet access to district | #ransomware | #cybercrime


HENRY COUNTY, Ga. — For the first time in two months, Henry County Schools Superintendent Mary Elizabeth Davis is using the district’s internet — not a hot spot. It’s a significant step towards restoring normalcy.

“This really is a milestone moment that we are arriving at, entering into full and open internet access,” she said. “There is no doubt there have been plenty of inconveniences that have existed across this organization since November 9th, but the core business of teaching and learning remained intact.”

On Monday, Davis said 8 of the 52 schools and district offices were granted full internet access. If those appear to be safe and secure, the rest of the district could have access within two weeks.

“We’re seeing promising results,” she said. “We have rebuilt the paths our users will be taking. Not that you would know that as a user, but you’re taking (a different path) in order to access the internet.”

Davis said that investigators determined someone outside of the United States launched a ransomware attack on the district in early November. The suspicious activity prompted the district to sever the network to prevent any further access.

A third-party company is now working to determine whether any personal information was compromised.

RELATED: Henry County Schools without Wi-Fi after ‘suspicious activity’ on network, superintendent says

“Each week, there was a series of applications restored to our organization. You were functioning with our core business practices, but you just couldn’t do wide open searches on the internet,” she said. “The creativity and innovation of teachers today remains extraordinary and we saw wonderful exemplars of teacher instruction and students learning with print and with pencils and with supplies.”

Davis credits their existing cybersecurity measures with allowing the district to stay open and restore access to certain applications quickly. She said they will continue to invest and update those measures.

“We did invest in a supplemental security solution that provides 24 hour surveillance and response,” she said. “We successfully deployed that over the holiday break, which is why we returned in the new year ready to actually restore wide open internet access across the organization.”



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