(TNS) – As cyberattacks continue to plague businesses, schools, and medical facilities across the country, the Hempfield Area Schools Board is taking proactive steps to protect the district’s technology.

The directors unanimously agreed to commission Digital Forensic Solutions to conduct an audit and vulnerability assessment of the district’s technology infrastructure at a cost of no more than $ 15,250.

“We felt it was important to audit ourselves and give us clues as to whether we were doing enough or not enough, or if there were other hacks or things we could do to alleviate this,” said board member Jeanne Smith.


The company will look at the district’s technology infrastructure and recommend any changes necessary to make it more secure, Smith said. District officials previously added security measures like two-step verification to keep the network safe.

Hempfield’s vote came in response to a days after the Butler County Community College closed Ransomware Attack on his computer systems. The school was closed for two days to give officers time to restore databases, servers, hard drives, and other devices. A regional one Online Safety The company worked to restore information that was lost in the breach.

School districts in the area have been disrupted by cyber attacks over the years.

A former Franklin Regional student in 2016 was charged after police said she launched a series of cyberattacks against more than a dozen local school districts, the Catholic Diocese of Greensburg and the Westmoreland County government. In 2020, she was sentenced to two years probation, a prison term that also required two months of house arrest.

The Kiski Area School District was the victim of an attack in 2017 in which administrators bought additional protection software for nearly $ 29,000.

Businesses were a major target of cyberattacks this year. In May, an attack forced the closure of a pipeline that carried gasoline and other fuel from Texas to the northeast.

JBS, the world’s largest meat supplier, announced in June that its systems were back online after a cyberattack brought US and Australian operations to a standstill.

Several other companies were also exposed to cyberattacks this year, including Brenntag, a chemical distribution company; Computer manufacturers Acer and Quanta; the Houston Rockets of the NBA; the European insurance company AXA; Insurance company CNA; and Kaseya, a company that manages the IT infrastructure.

Between January and July 31, the FBI received 2,084 ransomware complaints resulting in a loss of more than $ 16.8 million, according to an August report by the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. That’s a 20 percent increase in reported losses over the same period in 2020.

“We absolutely don’t want our student or parent’s information stolen and held hostage and costing the county money,” said Smith.

Hempfield’s exam will begin when the students go into the Christmas break, Superintendent Tammy Wolicki said.

“We are taking all possible measures to protect our technology,” said Wolicki.

© 2021 The Tribune-Review (Greensburg, PA). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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