As Cyberattacks Continuing strains on businesses, schools, and medical facilities across the country, the Hempfield Area Education Authority 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 are doing enough or not enough, or if there are other hacks or things we can do to mitigate 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 help protect the network.

Hempfield’s vote came days later Butler County Community College closed in response to a ransomware attack on its computer systems. The school was closed for two days to give officers time to restore databases, servers, hard drives, and other devices. A regional cybersecurity company worked to recover information lost in the security 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 they 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 condemned to serve two years probation, a period for which she was also placed under house arrest for two months.

Kiski Area School District in 2017 was the Victim of an attack This resulted in administrators buying 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. T

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

Several other companies were also exposed to cyberattacks this year, including Brenntag, a chemical distribution company; Computer manufacturer Acer and Quanta; the NBAs Houston Rockets; 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 that resulted in a loss of more than $ 16.8 million August report Found by the US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. That’s a 20% 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 take all possible measures to protect our technology,” said Wolicki.

Megan Tomasic is the author of Tribune Review. You can contact Megan at 724-850-1203, mtomasic@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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