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Ransomware attacks 20 North East ISD schools

The North East Independent School District says it's been hit by the latest craze in computer viruses known as ransomware. It is a type of malware or virus that limits users from accessing parts of their system, typically forcing the victim to pay some type of ransom in order to get their data back.

In this case, the district says that they didn't have to do that.

"I'm fairly concerned because there is certainly personal information of the students in the system," said Albrey, the parent of a high school student in the North East ISD.

She is very aware of what information hackers could get their hands on if they could break into a school's system.

"You've got to give them a copy of their birth certificate, your shot records, your Social Security numbers, address... so there's quite a bit of personal information that's given of the parent and student," she said.

"As far as we know, there was no sensitive information that could have been compromised," NEISD spokesperson Aubrey Chancellor said. "There was just really a small amount of data lost."

The district says that there were three separate ransomware incidents over the past two months. All of 20 campuses and two departments were affected. About 2.5 terabytes of data were encrypted, but no personal information about any student was compromised.

"Our technology department was able to work very quickly and delete all the encrypted files and use back up data to get them going again," Chancellor said.

"I think it, at least, helps me to assume they are doing everything they can to prevent that from being anything further than that," Albrey said.

The district is in the process of formulating a ransomware awareness strategy going forward to handle possible future incidents before they get a chance to happen again.