PLAINS TOWNSHIP, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — One school is closed and seven other school districts are impacted by a cyber attack.
It is still unclear how much damage was caused by that cyber attack.
Officials at the Wilkes-Barre Area Career and Technical Center tell Eyewitness News they are working with law enforcement, including the FBI, to get some answers.
“How would you classify this ransomware type of thing? A cyberattack? Do you know at this point?” I-Team Reporter Andy Mehalshick asked.
“We are still looking at it. It does look like ransomware,” said Wilkes-Barre Area CTC Administrative Director Dr. Anthony Guariglia.
Ransomware could mean the attackers would demand payment from the school to allow the school to regain control of its server.
Dr. Guariglia and his staff discovered the cyber attack Wednesday.
“Wednesday morning, when we came to work, we noticed our systems were down and got a call early morning on Wednesday that Tuesday, late in the evening, that there could have been some kind of breach through one of our servers that is stored here on our facility.”
Now the school’s I.T. staff is working with law enforcement to assess the extent of the cyber damage.
“If we determine down the line that any personal information has been compromised whatsoever, we’ll be reaching out to those affected to make sure everybody is comfortable, confident in our system, and in place, and trusted,” said Dr. Guariglia.
Dr. Guariglia says the school has anti-hacking software that they believe will limit the damage caused by the cyber attack.
“We had determined that time that the software that we had put in place, including the backup in the cloud, prevented a lot of issues,” said Dr. Guariglia.
The school released the statement below regarding the cyber attack:
A server stored at the Wilkes-Barre Career and Technical Center appears to have been compromised. The antivirus and backup procedures put into place in prevention prevented catastrophe and as of now, there is no indication that any personal information has been compromised. We can confirm at this time that there was an attack. The CTC and law are investigating the breach and they will determine the severity of the situation and whether any personal information has been compromised. If so, we will be reaching out to those As soon as I have more information, I will pass it along.”Dr. Tony Guariglia, Administrative Director, WIlkes-Barre Area Career And Technical Center.
The I-Team spoke with Luzerne County Detective Chaz Balogh who investigates computer crimes.
He says many of these cyber attacks are successful when an emailed link is opened.
“They should never click on any kind of unverified links that they receive, whether it’s through your personal email, or your business email because that’s going to allow anyone who’s sending malicious software if we click on that link they are going to have access to our computer,” explained Balogh.
WB CTC investigators and law enforcement are still trying to determine how the cyber criminals gained access to their computer systems.
That system also provides what’s called “Financials” to seven school districts that send students to the CTC.
We have students working from home today and tomorrow so that CVI team is able to go to every computer and verify they are clean. We currently have 930 students from the following districts:
Schools impacted by the attack include Wilkes-Barre, Nanticoke, Hanover, Pittston, Crestwood, Old Forge and Riverside. Officials also they have a child care center and a post-secondary LPN program and a night school affected as well.