Buffalo Public Schools make progress following ransomware attack, students to remain home Tuesday

Posted at 7:40 PM, Mar 15, 2021

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — The Buffalo Public School District provided an update Monday evening after the district was hit with a ransomware attack Friday.

According to a BPS spokesperson, "staff has restored the functionality of equipment, systems, and applications in the majority of our buildings over the weekend and today. 54 of 67 locations report no disruption to internet and wireless systems as of this afternoon."

Officials say students will remain at home Tuesday and "each school will send a message regarding when to log on for 'office hours,' to learn the new log on process and participate in asynchronous learning." Wednesday will be a full day of remote learning.

All district and school based staff will report to their respective sites Tuesday and Wednesday.

The ransomware attack on the Buffalo Public School system halted the return of another 5,000 students to in-person learning Monday, but it also shutdown all remote learning for thousands of children.

“We are so frustrated that this happens on the heels of such a careful — methodical planning process for a return to school,” said Rachel Fix Dominguez, co-chair, Buffalo Parent Teacher Organization.

The district says it "will continue to pressure test system restoration and access, as well as communicate any new or required information for students to access virtual learning tools once instruction resumes."

Officials say the district continues to work with cybersecurity experts, as well as local, state, and federal law enforcement to fully investigate this attack. Key findings related to its cause and potential overall impact to BPS systems have been identified.

Timeline to Recovery

Full recovery after a cybersecurity attack on an organization, is a multi-phased process. The district is making headway in restoring critical systems that support the primary function of teaching and learning. We have also prioritized the recovery of any affected business operation systems. The district will implement a longer term comprehensive initiative to enhance IT security and infrastructure going forward.

Status of Personally Identifiable Information (PII)

At this point, our lead investigative consultant and the FBI have not determined that there has been an exposure of PII. The investigation, which is both system forensic and criminal, is in its preliminary stages and will continue round the clock for at least two more weeks.
- Buffalo Public Schools