More updates have come on the ransomware attack on Johannesburg-Lewiston Area Schools (JLAS). According to Katy Xenakis-Makowski—the school’s superintendent—, data related to the staff or students was not compromised. This was due to the fact that the district does not store its staff and student information on the servers; hence the cybercriminals were unable to get their hands on that information.
The school was lucky to avoid paying a huge ransom for ransomware removal; however, they still had to face tricky situations. Xenakis-Makowski stated that their network still required some time to fully operate and they may require a complete month to complete their ransomware removal and recovery processes.
After the attack, Xenakis-Makowski and the board members from J-L’s Board of Education utilized their personal devices—tablets and Macbooks—for their office use and connected them to internet via their smartphone network.
Despite the inconvenience caused by the attack, Xenakis-Makowski stated that they were lucky because their staff was quick in their response. She said that the situation was not as bad as they initially feared. Instead, the attack was a blessing in disguise; the school realized the importance of cybersecurity and got a better understanding of such cyberthreats.
As a result, the district updated its anti-virus solution. The previous anti-virus was effective but it did not address all types of malware threats like ransomware removal. Xenakis-Makowski is hopeful that the newer anti-virus may fare better. Likewise, cloud-storage solutions are one of the strategies that have been adopted by the management. She recommended users to utilize such solutions because they are out of the harm’s way. The servers of J-L were a decade old. There had been some plans on buying and installing newer servers by the district before the attack.