FBI works to track down school district hackers

Connecticut

WOLCOTT, Conn. (WTNH)– Hackers hit a Connecticut-based healthcare group, stealing information from some patients.

‘Starling Physicians’ says it was hacked in February. The hackers got social security numbers, passport numbers and more. Letters are being sent to people impacted.

News 8 talked to the FBI about hackers, specifically how attacks on school districts have doubled since last year.

One of the towns in that statistic is Wolcott. Their school district was hit by hackers at the end of June. Now, months later, while their systems are back up and running, the investigation continues.

“You have a regular crime, you have physical evidence whether it’s blood, it’s a weapon, it’s a body. Here it’s a little different, different type of crime,” said Chief Edward Stephens, Wolcott Police Department.

While systems are back up in Wolcott, the chief of police says that the investigation is still underway.

“Our aim is to locate who did this and bring them to justice,” said Stephens.

The ransomware attack hit Wolcott school district’s computer system at the end of June, keeping it offline for several weeks.

“Lesson plans and things like that, especially the grammar schools. They were able to recover some of the information for the other schools because they did have some type of backups,” said Stephens.

Thankfully, for the Wolcott school district, no personal identification information got out. Local police continue to work with multiple other agencies including the FBI throughout this investigation.

Something Wolcott’s superintendent is grateful for. In a statement Tuesday, Doctor Anthony Gasper says in part:

“Small school districts and municipalities have extremely tight budgets and finding the resources to properly protect against such strong threats is very difficult.”

It’s an attack the FBI says is getting worse.

“I can tell you that looking at the last two years just what’s publicly reported, there were four towns identified last year. This year were on track to double that number,” said Conor Phoenix, Supervisory Special Agent, FBI.

But for them, they’ve taken steps like creating a task force throughout the state.

“We have agreements with a number of federal agencies the state police and large number of municipal towns that make up our cyber task force,” said Phoenix.

Making sure they’re addressing the problem immediately and stopping these hackers before the problem gets worse.

“One of the greatest things is technology. One of the worst things because of scams and things like this is technology,” said Phoenix.

The FBI says that if you find yourself as a victim to ransomware, notify police as soon as possible.

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