Cyberattack stalls report cards in Huron-Perth schools
WINGHAM, ONT. -- Parents in Huron and Perth counties attempting to access their children’s electronic report cards are being being met with a blank screen.
A cybersecurity incident prompted the company that manages the student and parent information portals for over 20,000 students at both the Avon Maitland District School Board (AMDSB) and Huron-Perth Catholic District School Board to shut down access on Friday.
And the situation still wasn’t fixed by Tuesday afternoon, causing concern for local parents.
“Anytime there’s a cyberattack or cyberbreach and there’s the potential of release of private information, it makes one concerned,” says Mark Beaven, a local parent and works for a local cybersecurity company.
Both school boards in Huron-Perth, say they’re not aware of any personal information being compromised due to the cyberattack, which may involve many more student portals across Canada.
The company involved, Maplewood/Edsembli says it works with 100 school boards, and a similar cybersecurity incident was reported by a school board in Manitoba.
“Now I don’t know the details of the Maplewood cyberincident, but, as far as I know, there is no financial data from parents on the system, but there is confidential information there. Hopefully, they haven’t got access to that,” says Beaven.
In a statement to parents and students, AMDSN Director of Education Dr. Lisa Walsh explained, “The student information system also integrates with other software that support operations such as ministry reporting, transportation services and public health support for contact tracing. While the system remains offline, we will continue with attendance procedures and handle emergencies using paper processes and other data sources."
Board officials say they expect the student information systems to be back online early next week, and don’t expect a significant impact on students and parents.
Beaven, who works for a local cybersecurity company called EthoGuard Inc. says average turnaround time on a typical cyberattack or ransomware attack is seven to 10 days.
He addds that the FBI is reporting a 300 per cent increase in such attacks since the beginning of the pandemic.
“We ourselves as parents can do some simple things, like ensuring we’re not using the same password for our banking, as you do your school records, as an example. Change your passwords, often,” says Beaven.