Due to a cyberattack, school authorities in Albuquerque, New Mexico, have canceled classes for Thursday and Friday. The closure came only days after a ransomware attack wreaked havoc on government services throughout Bernalillo County.
A statement on the Albuquerque Public Schools (APS) website states that schools will remain closed “as the district continues to investigate a cyberattack that compromised the student information system used to take attendance, contact families in emergencies, and assure that students are picked up from school by authorized adults.”
On Wednesday, the school announced that it was working with cybersecurity experts to restore service before Friday. On Thursday, the school updated its statement. Athletic and extracurricular activities will place as usual; however, meals will not be given while the schools are closed. Officials recommended the Roadrunner Food Bank Food Assistance Line for people who need food while the schools are closed.
They further suggested that parents contact the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central New Mexico, which will provide free all-day programming for children ages 5 to 18 while the school is dealing with the incident. According to the statement of APS Superintendent Scott Elder to the Albuquerque Journal, teachers detected the attack on Wednesday morning after attempting to enter into the student information system and being unable to do so.
Monica Armenta, an APS spokesperson, confirmed that the district has cyber insurance. A ransomware assault affecting many government agencies in Bernalillo County, including the state’s most populated cities of Albuquerque, Los Ranchos, and Tijeras, began between midnight and 5:30 a.m. on January 5. The compromised systems have been taken offline, and network connections have been disconnected, although most county buildings are closed to the public. Although emergency services and 911 are still available, a Sheriff’s Office customer service window has been closed.
All community centers are open. However, visitation at the Metropolitan Detention Center has been postponed indefinitely. Many other government services may still be obtained via phone or in person. As per the statement by county officials, the attack took offline the Clerk’s Office, preventing access to marriage licenses, real estate transactions, and voter registrations. Even though the school outages coincided with other difficulties, FBI spokesperson Frank Fisher told the Albuquerque Journal that the hack on APS was unrelated to the ransomware attack on Bernalillo County.