Hack triggers cyber lockdown at Rialto schools

On Monday morning Rialto schools went on a cyber lockdown of sorts suspending remote learning classes because their servers were hacked.

The intent of malware is to cause damage to computers.

And, now they are collecting district-issued computers and other devices in case they were compromised.

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The motive for the attack ?

School officials say so far there have been no ransom demands, but if this was meant to throw chaos into the start of the school year... it did. 

RUSD Spokeswoman Syeda Jafri says, “We’re dealing with something that is outside our control."

It was an ominous warning posted on social media.

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On Twitter: "Rialto Unified School District has been affected by Malware."

On Facebook:  There was a “system malware outage... Please suspend the use of any district windows devices.” 

Jafri says the district’s server that feeds all of the district's distributed computers was attacked just as the school year is starting. And, knowing there were already challenges for parents with regard to distance learning.

Says Jafri, "We contacted our parents, guardians, students as well as staff that indefinitely for this week, starting early today we would start suspending instruction.”

Maya Levine is with cybersecurity company Check Point.

She says, “In general, these sorts of cyber-attacks are pretty serious and the very kind of conservative approach the school district is taking is the right way to go about it is right."

She says if the server was attacked, "Then there's a very good chance that all of the laptops and things connected to that server he was able to get to that too."

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Now retired, Jay Gehringer was the director for cyber-security training at North Hollywood High.

He coached students who successfully competed nationally in anti-hacking competitions.

He says, “The bad guys have been getting better in hacking into computers than the good guys have been in securing their computers. The world is changing quickly the bad guys are getting better and its faster and we just need to understand that our school systems and teachers especially are doing the best they can to educate our kids.” 

Rialto school officials say they will be notifying parents when their students go back to remote learning they just don't know right now when that might be.

And, an investigation into the hack continues.