Overcoming Jackson County ISD cyberattack could take several weeks

Cybersecurity experts said it could take several weeks before everything is back to normal for students.
Published: Nov. 18, 2022 at 6:19 PM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - The Jackson County Intermediate School District is still working tonight to get its computer servers back online nearly a week after hackers took control.

Background: Schools in Jackson, Hillsdale counties reopen Thursday following cyberattack

Cybersecurity experts said it could take several weeks before everything is back to normal for students.

“It’s not a matter of if you’re going to get hit with ransomware, it’s a matter of when,” said Jason Miller, BitLyft Cybersecurity.

Miller owns St. Johns-based cybersecurity company BitLyft. He’s been paying attention to the attack at the Jackson County I.S.D.

He said it is best to always be planning for an attack before it happens.

“Because you’re trying to figure out what to do next in the emergency and disaster,” said Miller.

Miller said there’s no playbook for overcoming the attack, but it could take several weeks. That’s because there are a couple of different approaches.

“Probably the most important thing to do is restore from backups that aren’t containing the malware,” said Miller.

He adds another way to beat the attack is to rebuild the entire network.

“Fresh installations of software and fresh restores of data from data-only backups. that usually takes longer,” said Miller.

We don’t know which method the Jackson County I.S.D. is using to overcome its network outage because it hasn’t released that information, but Miller said organizations should be monitoring their systems for unusual activity around the clock.

News 10 asked Jackson I.S.D. for an interview Friday, but it declined to comment citing the ongoing investigation.

The FBI said it is helping with the investigation.

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