In order to retrieve its data following a ransomware attack earlier this month, Roseburg Public Schools has agreed to paid the ransom demanded by hackers in order to retrieve its data.
The school disclosed the news in a press release late Friday that also announced that the district’s email and websites have been completely restored following the attack earlier this month.
While efforts continue to retrieve data, no student or employee information was compromised from the attack discovered on the morning of Saturday, May 5.
The district said it made the decision to pay the ransom in consultation along with its insurance company and Navigant, a company that specializes in data recovery.
Doing so is allowing the district to recover years’ worth of data and to resume regular day-to-day operations, the statement said.
“We exhausted all efforts to avoid paying the requested ransom out of concern that more damage could be caused; however, the experts ultimately determined that the solution was worth the risk,” Roseburg Public Schools Superintendent Gerry Washburn said in the statement. “The costs associated with attempting to decrypt the sophisticated software code were prohibitive, and we wanted to get back to focusing on our students’ educational experiences.”
In an earlier interview, Washburn said the district was advised by the FBI not to pay the ransom. Washburn has not disclosed the amount of the ransom.
An Internet Security threat Report published by Symantec in 2017 said the average ransom demanded by hackers was $544, down from $1,071 in 2016.
Total costs to the district associated with the recovery process are not yet available, the statement said, however, the district’s insurance policy will mitigate many of the expenses, including the ransom.
The district is continuing to work with law enforcement and Navigant to fully resolve the incident, it said in the release.
Among its efforts to prevent future attacks, the district has implemented new file backup protocols and has contracted for new firewall security systems.
“We are grateful for all the hard work our IT staff and outside organizations have put in to repairing our systems and recovering our data,” Washburn said. “We also thank the staff, students, parents and community for their patience during this time.”