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Carroll schools dealing with 'intermittent issues' after cyberattack

A cyberattack that forced Carroll County Public Schools to shut down its network Feb. 25 has continued to cause "intermittent issues" with Internet speeds, but it has not disrupted instruction, school officials said Thursday.

Shortly after 9 a.m. Feb. 25, Carroll County Public Schools shut down its network after a Denial-of-Service attack that overwhelmed the school system's firewalls, according to Gary Davis, CCPS chief technology officer.

Although school staff could still email each other, students and staff were unable to connect to the Internet or receive outside email throughout the day, Davis said.

Disconnecting from the network was a precautionary measure, according to Davis, and no data or security breaches occurred, which is not the purpose of a Denial-of-Service attack.

"Think of it as a high-tech form of vandalism," he said.

Davis said Internet speeds have been slow at times because of continued attacks on the school system's firewalls, but the school system has not needed to shut down its network again.

Assistant Superintendent of Instruction Steve Johnson said he has not heard of any impact to classroom instruction since the Feb. 25 cyberattack.

"Undoubtedly that [the cyberattack] had an impact on what our students and teachers were able to do that day [Feb.25]," he said.

He added that teachers have alternative lessons planned on days they plan to use technology.

This isn't the first time Carroll County Public Schools has been the victim of the cyberattack, but it is the first time that the school system decided to shut down its network, Davis said.

"It happens all the time," he said of potential cyberattacks. "It's just something that you really have to keep on top of."

Davis said cyberattacks are something the school system is always concerned about since it is the nature of the Internet.

"There's good and bad that comes with the Internet," he said. "It's just part of the IT world and something we're always concerned about."

The Howard County Public School System was the target of a similar incident in January.

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