School board reports January malware attack

Email systems compromised at board office and Fernie Learning Centre, according to memo

The Southeast Kootenay School District reports it suffered a ‘cyber incident’ five months ago that infected computers at the district office and the Fernie Learning Centre.

The district office reports that the computer network at the board office in Cranbrook was infected with the Emotet virus, which typically compromises a system by inserting a malicious link into an email.

Discovered on January 23, 2019, the virus was contained to the original network at the board office and computers were immediately shut off, wiped and re-imaged, according to an SD5 memo.

The attack jeopardized email files from staff computers that had their Outlook software program open on Jan. 23. The malware was able to obtain email files from the infected computers and those emails may be forwarded on to other recipients with the infected malware attachments.

The SD5 office warns that the risks of the cyber attack include disclosure of personal information, salary, confidential information and contact information such as addresses, phone numbers, and email accounts.

“We believe the risk is directed at emails being forwarded with Malware attachments with the intent to spread the Emotet Virus and not for the purpose of disclosing or using the personal information that may be found in the emails,” reads part of a memo released by the district office. “Another Cybersecurity solution product has been purchased to reduce future risk of emails being compromised, this will also include cybersecurity training for our staff.”

The district says it is still investigating and will release more information as it becomes available.



trevor.crawley@cranbrooktownsman.com

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