Wolcott mayor speaks out about ransomware attacks on school computers

New Haven

WOLCOTT, Conn. (WTNH) — Wolcott Mayor Thomas Dunn is speaking out about the hacking that has been plaguing Wolcott Public School computers.

A hack at the end of the last school year in June ended up crippling computers and files, not allowing teachers access to lesson plans on computers.

Then, on Wednesday, a school district worker noticed something wrong — possibly some malware, and the district decided to shutdown the computers to avoid more viruses getting in.

“You have to be careful what you’re clicking on,” said Wolcott Police Chief Edward Stephens. “It could be a virus going into your own computer.”

“I thought here we go again,” said Wolcott Mayor Thomas Dunn.

According to ABC News, this is a lucrative and widespread scheme. More than 20 towns across the country were recently hacked in Texas.

Cyber attacks in recent years have hit Atlanta, Baltimore, Newark, and Savannah, Georgia. Last year, the FBI tracked more than 1,400 ransomware attacks with the victims paying out $3.6 million to hackers.

The Wolcott school hack prompted the district to voluntarily shutdown the computer system for a while. This happened at a time when the school district was already the victim of a ransomware cyber attack.

So far, no money has been paid from Wolcott. Mayor Thomas Dunn tells News8 the whole ordeal is frustrating.

“The frustration is that someone’s got you captured,” Mayor Dunn said. “And it always takes dollars and that’s something we’re always trying to save.”

Federal, state, and local authorities are now teaming up on the investigation in town. And the mayor says teams of school district staff workers and town workers are meeting to get everyone through this.

Last week, Superintendent, Dr. Anthony Gasper, released a statement saying no student or staff medical or financial information is in danger — the files are mostly teachers’ computerized lesson plans.

No one knows how long it’ll take to find out who’s behind this, but Mayor Dunn is confident in the people who have come to Wolcott to help.

“Right now the experts are involved,” the mayor said. “These people have dealt with it. They know what they’re doing.”

Unidentified hackers put viruses into computers and tell the unsuspecting victims to pay a ransom to them and they will restore their computers and access to files.

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