Dorchester District 2 officials answer questions about ransomware attack on servers

DD2 Servers (WCIV)

As kids have fun on the playground at Knightsville Elementary School, leaders with Dorchester District 2 work to resolve a problem hidden from campus.

"We've exhausted everything that we know to do," admitted Dr. Glenn Huggins, assistant superintendent of DD2.

Huggins explained what happened in mid-June when school officials discovered a ransomware virus that disabled the district's operating system and database on 25 technology servers.

"Immediately we began to contact all agencies that we needed to. SLED, FBI, local law enforcement, legal teams, state department of education," Dr. Huggins said.

School leaders say even though the cyberattack penetrated the school district's electronic security system, personal information wasn't stolen.

"There was a determination made that this was a ransomware request. And that there was no identity theft involved in that. So no student or staff information was compromised," Dr. Huggins explained.

Instead, officials say data was encrypted. That means it couldn’t be accessed. The district's insurance policy paid $2,900 dollars to decript the files.

"The information on this particular server is information that's used to help guide instruction. That information is being re-entered. We had hard copies of that information," Dr. Huggins said.

For now, DD2 leaders promise to find a high-tech solution to this electronic crime.

"We want to be on the cutting edge. We want to know and make a difference with technology," Dr. Huggins said.

School officials hired a private company to review the district's technology security. Possible recommendations will be released next month.

Berkeley and Charleston county school leaders tell ABC News 4 they haven't had any ransomware virus attacks.

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