Park Hill School District says system back up and running after cyber attack

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Students in Park Hill schools were out of school again Tuesday, as the district tried to clean up after a cyber attack infected multiple district computer programs.

“Cyber criminals are always looking at ways to get people to react to emails, to phone calls, to text messages in order to scam them out of important information,” said Burton Kelso, Integral chief tech expert.

While Park Hill Schools won’t say if they were asked to buck up money to stop a public release of sensitive data in this cyber breach, tech expert Burton Kelso says the vast majority of malware infections start with an email phishing scam with the goal of extorting cash. 

“Within an instant, you can have files that are encrypted and of course you’ll get the ransom note, asking you to pay the ransom in order to get access to your files,” Kelso said.

 Park Hill said its systems are now back up and running.  The district’s prioritized programs to bring online by level of impact and doing it piece by piece. 

Parent Misty Snodgrass shares the district’s optimism that no personal data was exposed.. 

 “They have been transparent at every step of the process that I’ve ever seen them engage and as a parent it’s so refreshing because I know not all school districts are that way,” said Snodgrass.

As an IT professional herself, Snodgrass wanted to do something to help.  She and *129 other Park Hill families rallied together, collecting $2500 to help buy food and drinks for district technology and administrative staff. 

“We appreciate what they’re doing and know it’s really challenging and know they’re working hard for our kids and we want to do the best we can to say thank you,” Snodgrass said.

Deana Poston-Seibold among those pitching in, delivering goodie bags. 

 “These are suckers and chocolate and cookies and my husband worked in that field and he was on a couple of these where they had to work over 24 hours trying to get it back up because of a bug in the system so I know what they go through,” said Park Hill grandparent, Deana Poston-Seibold.

 She’s now hoping all the problems get fixed and for the schools to keep everyone in the loop about what went wrong in hopes of preventing an attack like this from happening it again. 

“Let us know here’s where we are, here’s what we did and here’s what we caught and what we fixed and it’s done,” said Poston-Seibold.

 Park Hill says its critical systems have now been restored, and school will be in session Wednesday. 

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