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APS superintendent confirms ransomware attack in an ongoing investigation

A man holds a laptop computer as cyber code is projected on him.
Kacper Pempel
/
REUTERS

Students returned to classes at Albuquerque Public Schools Tuesday after a ransomware attack prompted officials to shut down for two days last week.

At a news conference, APS Superintendent Scott Elder confirmed this was an extortion ransomware attack, but said he could not give many details because the investigation is ongoing.

Hackers were able to breach the student information system, which staff uses to take attendance and also holds family contact data, such as who is authorized to pick students up from school.

"It should be very clear to everyone that someone intentionally, aggressively, and very publicly tried to harm our school community" said Elder.

Elder added that no information concerning staff, students, or families has been compromised at this time. The APS district IT Department restored the student information system, so operations should be running as normal.

Elder said these attacks are not uncommon in schools around the U.S., but it’s difficult for institutions to safely share information. He suggested state and federal officials could help by convening a meeting of chief technology officers and cyber security experts to strategize for protecting schools.