Problems with Finalsite started on Tuesday, and the company said it was still working on restoring full functionality.
Around 5,000 school district websites were reportedly inaccessible this week following a ransomware attack on the company that hosts those websites. Three days later, the company is still trying to restore full functionality.
“On Tuesday, January 4th, our team detected the presence of ransomware on certain systems in our environment”, Finalsite said on a status update page Thursday. “We immediately took steps to secure our systems and contain activity.”
Finalsite said it had opened an investigation with outside forensic experts. There was no evidence that final site or customer data was stolen.
This incident was not directed to specific schools, but to the final site database as a whole “, Finalsite said in a statement, “The data contained on these websites are limited to demographic characteristics (name, email address).”
Finalsite said it doesn’t store any personal information such as school records, credit card information, or social security numbers.
Company spokesman Morgan Delack said TechCrunch that 5,000 of the company’s 8,000 customers were affected.
A Reddit user claimed Thursday that the outage prevented some schools from sending out warnings about school closings or COVID-19 logs.
Finalsite did not disclose details on how the hackers gained access and which ransomware was used in its status update.
Former FBI analyst Crane Hassold, now Director of Threat Intelligence at Abnormal Security, said ZDNet that this attack was similar to one on Kaseya last year, highlighting the trickle-down effect ransomware can have.
“When a company that provides solutions for other companies is hit by ransomware, as we saw at Kaseya last summer, the consequences can be exponentially devastating,” said Hassold.
Finalsite is based in Glastonbury, Connecticut with offices in the United Kingdom. School districts it serves include Kansas City, Tacoma, Washington, and Avon Grove, Pennsylvania. Finalsite said it also serves charter and international schools.
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