TOWSON, Md. — Baltimore County Public Schools announced via Twitter that school will be closed for students on Monday, November 30, and Tuesday, December 1. BCPS says on Monday and Wednesday, free student meals will be available at 300+ locations as usual, including all middle and high schools. The district also promised that updates would be available by 5 p.m. daily.
(1/3) Due to the recent ransomware attack, Baltimore County Public Schools will be closed for students on Monday, November 30, and Tuesday, December 1. BCPS offices will be open and staff will receive additional information about Monday and Tuesday.
— Baltimore County Public Schools (@BaltCoPS) November 28, 2020
Schools were forced to shut down Wednesday following a late night ransomware attack on their digital network information systems.
On Friday, they released a statement in part saying that their "technology and other central office teams have been working these past few days to address this catastrophic attack on [their] technology system.
(1/2) Our technology and other central office teams have been working these past few days to address this catastrophic attack on our technology system.— Baltimore County Public Schools (@BaltCoPS) November 27, 2020
Unfortunately, we are limited in what we can say due to the ongoing federal, state and local investigations.
BCPS can now confirm we were the victim of a Ransomeware attack that caused systemic interruption to network information systems. Our BCPS technology team is working to address the situation & we will continue to provide updates as available. For now, please don’t use BCPS device— Baltimore County Public Schools (@BaltCoPS) November 25, 2020
The cyber attack caused virtual learning for all teachers and students to be suspended for the day. And now with Thanksgiving break beginning tomorrow, there's no time table on when it could resume.
WMAR-2 News reporter Dave Detling obtained a recording of a robocall sent to all parents and staff, making them aware of the incident.
Parent sent this @BaltCoPS robo call recording to @WMAR2News.— Dave Detling (@WMARDave) November 25, 2020
We’re waiting on a press conference set to begin at 3:30.
A school spokesperson says the superintendent will be in attendance along with members of the district’s IT team & chief of police. pic.twitter.com/tmK7SkO25O
During an afternoon press conference, Baltimore County Police Chief Melissa Hyatt wouldn't comment on any amount of money the hackers may have demanded, but said federal authorities were notified.
No other county government systems appear to have been compromised, according to a Baltimore County statement released earlier Wednesday.
"We are aware that BCPS has been the victim of a ransomware attack. Our Office of Information Technology is working closely with them to offer technical assistance and guidance. We do not have any reason to believe that Baltimore County Government systems have been compromised, but the County’s Information Technology team is closely inspecting our network and all devices out of an abundance of caution, and has put in place additional security measures. We will continue to work with BCPS to help address this issue so that remote learning can resume as soon as possible."
Watch the entire press conference below.