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Baltimore County assists school system with ransomware attack

Offering credit monitoring for students & staff
Posted at 4:10 PM, Dec 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-07 17:22:44-05

TOWSON, Md. — Asked, in retrospect, if Baltimore County could have provided funding earlier this year to help safeguard the Baltimore County Public Schools system’s computer system, County Executive Johnny Olszewski went on the defensive.

“In the middle of the pandemic, as we were cutting tens of millions of dollars from other services to insure that we could keep a balanced budget and maintain what people expect, we actually increased our funding for the school system by almost $20 million,” said Olszewski, “Now, we in Baltimore County don’t control how that money is spent year over year.”

In the aftermath of the attack, the county has offered IT assistance, some new laptops and is allowing the school system to use its network to make payments, in addition to a pledge to provide credit monitoring for all of the public school students and staff if it’s needed.

“At this point, we have no evidence that shows that there has been any data exfiltration or date theft from Baltimore County,” said BCPS IT Executive Director Jim Corns, “Our investigation is ongoing.”

What remains unclear is who was behind the ransomware attack, whether they demanded money and if so, whether it was paid.

“This is a long drawn out investigation and unfortunately, right now, there are no other details that I can comment on,” said Baltimore County Police Chief Melissa Hyatt.

The county is also handling other various requests for assistance from the school system through its virtual emergency operations center including additional police patrols at learning centers.