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Ransomware attack forces Baltimore County Public Schools to close Monday, Tuesday

Schools have been closed since Nov. 25
Posted at 7:33 AM, Nov 25, 2020
and last updated 2021-01-15 14:08:30-05

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.

RELATED: BCPS: Students & staff shouldn't use Windows-based devices, but Chromebooks are okay

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.

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.

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.