Calallen ISD officials reported that their networks had been hit by a ransomware attack.
Calallen Independent School District officials have confirmed that their networks were recently affected by a so-called ransomware cyberattack.
Information Technology (IT) staff at the district first noticed the issue Sunday morning, reporting problems with the district's email system. They then discovered that malware (malicious software similar to a virus, trojan or worm), had taken control of network servers in a ransomware attack.
Attacks like this one have recently affected networks across the globe, and work by first infiltrating a computer on a network and then spreading to essential servers or databases. There, the malware encrypts important files needed for the organization to operate. The encrypted files are rendered unusable, and the software typically displays a message demanding payment in return for a "key" to decrypt the files. Recent attacks have included a time limit for when the files will be deleted if no payment is received.
Other forms of ransomware may use similar methods to take control of critical network servers, similarly demanding payment to restore critical services.
Calallen ISD officials confirmed that ransomware was behind their network issues. Staff reported that the ransomware demanded at least $500 in payment in the form of the cryptocurrency Bitcoin before it would restore control of the district's servers.
A spokesperson with the district said that data had not been compromised or left their networks during the incident. IT staff were able to shut down affected portions of the network and rebuild compromised servers. They report that new security measures were implemented on Monday and that the district's email system was restored by Tuesday.