FCPS falls victim to ransomware attack

More than a month ago, FCPS was reported to have fallen under a ransomware attack.
However, distance learning was not affected and virtual classes proceeded as planned. The county directed students and staff to make no changes to their device usage.
The hacker group Maze later claimed responsibility and held personal data of students and staff ransom for an undisclosed amount of money.
At the time, FCPS announced they were working with cybersecurity experts and law enforcement to assess the situation.
“The first I heard of it was from my mom since my dad is a teacher,” senior Eva Gomez said. “My teachers didn’t really bring it up.”
Last Friday, Superintendent of Fairfax County Public Schools Scott Brabrand sent an email out with further developments. It turns out personal information of some students and staff have been compromised.
“Whoever decided to target teachers is very misguided,” Digital Art teacher Carmen Lucas said.
Some of the information has been released on the dark web, including hundreds of employees’ names, their Social Security numbers, and health insurance information.
“This definitely adds a lot of unnecessary stress on top of the extra work with virtual teaching,” Lucas said.
According to Brabrand’s message, impacted individuals hadn’t been contacted at that point.
“I did not receive notice that my information was personally affected,” Lucas said, “but I took precautionary steps anyway by freezing my credit and Social Security number.”
On a broader level, FCPS is just one of the many school districts suffering from these problems.
Brabrand has reported that in response they have been fortifying FCPS cybersecurity defenses and are further investigating the attack.
In the meantime, FCPS has directed for virtual learning to proceed as usual.
“It’s definitely scary and I’m trying not to think about it and focus on my students instead,” Lucas said.