A “cyber incident” led the West Babylon public schools to shut down the district’s computer system while technicians examine whether any confidential data has been compromised, the superintendent said Monday.
In a letter to West Babylon families, the superintendent, Yiendhy Farrelly, said the district is still looking into the extent of the breach.
"We are still investigating to ensure that no confidential data was compromised. Currently, we are not aware of any access to student or staff personal information. If we are made aware that personal information was accessed, we will notify you," the letter said.
In a statement relayed by outside spokeswoman Jessica Novins of the public relations agency Syntax, the superintendent said the incident was on July 25.
According to the statement, an administrator had trouble logging into a district computer system, a problem IT personnel also noticed when troubleshooting the problem. That is when the district’s “cyber safety procedures” were activated, and the systems were shut down, the statement said.
Citing “an ongoing investigation,” Novins declined to say why the login troubles indicated a possible attack or whether any ransom demand had been made.
Newsday reported in March that Long Island schools have suffered from at least 29 incidents of ransomware, computer hacks and other cyber incidents over the past three years, including attacks that crippled computer networks to worker errors that exposed Social Security numbers, addresses and other private information, according to records obtained from the state Education Department.
The West Babylon superintendent's letter said that students, staff and faculty will be told soon how to change passwords, and the district is working to restore its computer systems.
"We are working on restoring our service and rebuilding our network — by segments," the letter said. "Our collective first step is to facilitate password changes for all students, staff and faculty. Families will be receiving follow up communication regarding student password changes."
The West Babylon district has 3,705 students and seven schools, according to the state Education Department.