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Fort Worth ISD Hacked, Joining Other Texas Schools, Towns Hit By Ransomware Attacks

Fort Worth ISD bus
Tony Gutierrez
Associated Press

The Fort Worth Independent School District is recovering from a ransomware attack last week. The district hopes everything will be back to normal by next Monday, when students and teachers return from spring break — but that may not be the case.

Fort Worth ISD spokesperson Clint Bond said the hack affected him as much as the other district teachers and staff.

“All I know is all of a sudden my computer stopped working on Tuesday morning at about 6:30,” said Bond.

The ransomware also affected the district’s website. Bond saidFort Worth ISD will not pay the requested ransom, and as far as the district and contractors know, there’s been no compromise of anyone’s personal or financial information.

“We did lose some access to material,” Bond said, “but we don’t anticipate it’ll be lost forever. We have been working on it with Cisco and with Microsoft to retrieve that information.” 

Bond said the district has continued to function even without the technology that teachers rely on.

“We’ve sent them curriculum synopses on how to proceed without technology, Bond said. "Go back to the good old days and teach without the computer.”   

The Fort Worth ISD computer hack follows a string of cyber attacks last year in Texas towns and school districts. While Bond expects the district's computers to be fixed by next Monday, he said it may take longer. Administrators want to make sure the tens of thousands of connected devices are ransomware free, so they can’t re-infect the system.

Bill Zeeble has been a full-time reporter at KERA since 1992, covering everything from medicine to the Mavericks and education to environmental issues.