Flagstaff Unified School District has canceled classes at all of its schools for a second day, Friday, September 6, as district officials continue to combat a cybersecurity attack.
FUSD officials have confirmed the situation is a ransomware attack — the attacker has demanded payment in bitcoin in exchange for the locked data. The district is now working to clean the devices that have been touched by the malware and equip all devices with additional protection before they are reconnected to the district’s internet.
“There has been no conversation about paying the ransom,” FUSD spokesman Zachery Fountain said.
All FUSD schools, FACTS, childcare centers, FUSD preschools and all after-school activities have been canceled for Friday. An updated schedule for Friday’s athletic events is planned to be released Friday morning; however, Fountain said the Flagstaff High School football game at the Northern Arizona University Walkup Skydome is not impacted and the Coconino High School football game is also likely to occur as planned.
Schools were closed Thursday after officials discovered the ransomware in its servers Wednesday morning during routine operations. The FUSD tech team and third-party cybersecurity experts worked overnight Wednesday and throughout Thursday to address the problem.
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Though progress was made in “securing critical FUSD systems,” a district statement said the work will need to continue through the weekend to allow students to return to school.
“FUSD understands this decision impacts families and the community. We appreciate your patience as we work through this situation,” it stated.
Both missed school days will be counted as snow days and must be made up.
“There will be further communication with parents as we figure out what that means for our schedule,” Fountain said.