KNOX COUNTY, Ind. (WTHI) - Malware has hit the South Knox School Corporation. Malware is a type of software designed to cause damage to a computer, server, or network.
It happened as students and teachers were about to leave on Fall Break. Superintendent of South Knox School Corporation Tim Grove says their IT department began receiving complaints at the end of the day on Friday and they began working to fix it right away. The Cause is unknown, and they are still feeling the effects. "We're still looking into what happened and still trying to get all the systems up," Grove said, "Our server in the elementary school is still down, and that building affects the administration building. The High School is up and running."
The malware also affected the school corporation's phone systems. South Knox Schools have voice over technology phones that run through the computers. As a result, it took away some communications. Grove says overall, it could have been much worse. "There's always an opportunity that people can get in with the student information system. That was a big fear, but it didn't get into that and it also didn't get into our payroll information," he said, "When I talked to my technology director yesterday afternoon, he said it's really a lot better than it could have been."
Originally, the IT department thought ransomware was not the type of malware that hit the school corporation. It turns out, this was not the case and ransom messages were found. "We essentially just bypassed the messages and the ransom demands," Superintendent Grove said, "Initially, we thought it was just malware, but it turns out there were some notes left."
The school corporation recently just added cyber insurance to its plan. Grove says he thinks they were well prepared for something like this to happen. "I think we had steps in place to keep it from being a major disaster should this ever hit us," he said, "Those protocols helped us out at this point."
Tech workers are still going through each of the hundreds of computers throughout the school corporation. Grove is optimistic that they will have this all sorted out soon. "We're hopeful by the end of the week that everything will be up and running as normal."