Cyberattack at two Tyngsborough public schools forced students to learn remotely

Tyngsboro Public Schools was the target of a cyberattack that caused internet outages this past week at the high school and middle school, officials said. Students and teachers at the two schools worked remotely on Friday as a result of the attack, schools Superintendent Michael Flanagan said. Monday is a […]

Tyngsboro Public Schools was the target of a cyberattack that caused internet outages this past week at the high school and middle school, officials said.

Students and teachers at the two schools worked remotely on Friday as a result of the attack, schools Superintendent Michael Flanagan said. Monday is a school holiday, and Flanagan said he hopes in-school learning can resume on Tuesday. Tyngsboro Elementary School was not affected.

“We are frustrated and disappointed that this outage has disrupted what has been a very successful and positive start to our school year here in Tyngsborough,” he said in a statement. “We have all pulled together and worked so hard to create a positive learning environment in spite of the challenges and disruptions of the COVID pandemic. While we are confident that we will soon rectify this situation, I am upset for the difficulty and disruption this has caused our students, families and staff.”

The district has hired an IT solutions company to identify and remediate the source of the attack, which affected the Norris Road campus, Flanagan said.

Thus far, the district’s IT professionals and cybersecurity provider have determined that the outages were not caused by an internal hardware issue or a problem with the district’s internet provider, but instead were the result of a distributed denial of services cyberattack, apparently from a device being brought into the building each morning, the superintendent said.

In consultation with Massachusetts Commissioner of Education Jeff Riley and state Rep. Colleen Garry, Flanagan said he and the district’s IT team are working with Tyngsboro Police, town administration and NorthEast Technology, a Danvers IT solutions company, to identify and remediate the source of the outage and determine whether the interruption was intentional or caused by a compromised device without the knowledge of its owner.

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