Albuquerque schools remain closed for second day following cyber attack
Albuquerque Public Schools in New Mexico were closed for a second day on Friday after a cyberattack hit district networks, including student data.
The attack “compromised the student information system used to take attendance, contact families in emergencies, and assure that students are picked up from school by authorized adults,” according to a video message from Superintendent Scott Elder.
“The possible impact of student safety forced us to close schools,” Elder said, saying officials were working to identify the problem and prevent future attacks. “All of our efforts are now focused on returning students to schools as soon as possible.”
Albuquerque Public Schools, the largest district in New Mexico, plans to re-open on Tuesday after the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.
Malicious cyber hackers, usually operating from out of the country, have been increasingly targeting schools in recent years, especially during the pandemic. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency said in August and September 2020, K-12 schools made up 57 percent of all ransomware attacks.
New Mexico schools were also hit in the 2019 hack at Las Cruces Public Schools, which shut down the school system’s entire computer network for more than a week, ABC 7 reported.
In Albuquerque, Elder said, “Sophisticated hackers behind the chaos often target public schools because they know we can’t afford the same in-house cybersecurity expertise found in the private sector.”
“Schools can be an easy target for hackers looking to disrupt the learning process or worse,” he said.