Ransomware virus attacks SLP Schools technology

Staff Writer
Since 2013, I have primarily covered the Anoka-Hennepin and Spring Lake Park school districts as well as the city of Spring Lake Park for ABC Newspapers.


Spring Lake Park Schools has been working to resolve technology systems after a ransomware virus was detected Nov. 29.

Files were renamed and encrypted, and the district was ordered to pay to retrieve decryption codes. But the technology team figured out a way to get most systems back up and running in two days without paying a dime.

“Based on research by our team, this form of the (Crysis-Dharma) virus appears to be a newer version that was not detected by our system’s virus scanning software,” Superintendent Jeff Ronneberg wrote in a letter to district families. “Many businesses, government organizations and school districts throughout the world have been victims of similar ransomware attacks.”

The virus affected many systems within the district, but Schoology, the integrated learning management system used by students, teachers and families, was not down, according to Bob Noyed, director of communications.

Accounting systems used in school cafeterias were on the fritz, but lunch was still able to be served, according to Noyed.

The virus found its way into the district’s student information system, but “it is important for everyone to know that there is no evidence that personal and private data on students, staff and parents was removed from the system,” Ronneberg wrote.

Noyed and Ronneberg both sang the praises of the technology team for their swift work.

Ronneberg called their response “nothing short of amazing.”

The district reported the virus to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

While some drives were still unavailable as of Dec. 2, access to all drives is expected to be restored this week, according to Noyed.

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