Superintendent: District working to get back online after cyber incident

The superintendent for Henry County Schools says the district is still working to get some of its applications back online following a cyberattack last month. 

Superintendent Mary Elizabeth Davis says within the last week, they have successfully reconnected to several important applications, but some second-tier applications remain online. Davis says the incident was reported to investigators. 

"The scope has really been able to discern that a portion of our network was successfully accessed by an unauthorized user now known to be affiliated with a criminal operation operating outside of the U.S.," she told FOX 5 on Thursday night.

Davis says a portion of their network was accessed in the attack that was predominantly used for historical files and procedural documents. 

"We also were able to learn from our partners that many of our very essential applications, such as our student information system, our finances and human resource management platforms, as well as email, and many of our environments for productivity, were secure and clean," she said.

Within the last week, Davis says they have successfully reconnected vital systems, including employee email, Google Classroom environments and the system for reporting grades. 

However, some other systems remain offline. 

"There are quite a few second-tier applications that are still requiring the reconstruction and redeployment and a lot of those are going to be," she said. "One of those examples is how we check out our books in the media center and how we inventory our assets."

Superintendent Mary Elizabeth Davis

Peter Tran, the senior cybersecurity analyst, CISO, and head of global cyber infrastructure and product security solutions for InferSight, says these incidents or attacks are becoming more common.

"There has been an exponential increase in generalized attacks on schools and governments mainly because the relationships at universities and even local schools, secondary schools, anywhere from elementary to high schools, have and what they're after are the contacts. Their contacts can get to other people that may work for other corporations," Tran said.

He said there are ways organizations can stay on guard while online. 

"First, patch your systems. Second, look at the email and all the employees, from teachers to students to employees to third-party contractors that might communicate with you and make sure you have enough filtering in place," he said.

Davis says the investigation continues as the district works to get all its applications back online.