The exterior of Commack High School in 2010.

The exterior of Commack High School in 2010. Credit: Newsday/Danielle Finkelstein

A cyberattack has disrupted the network of the Commack School District, Superintendent Jordan Cox told parents in a message Wednesday.

The network outage, Cox said, has knocked the district's main telephone number offline. Its website and social media sites appeared to be functional on Wednesday night.

"We have contacted federal, state and local authorities, including Homeland Security, and we are working closely with our Cyber Insurance carrier," Cox wrote. "Ransomware such as this is a criminal act and an investigation is currently underway. There is no evidence at this time that any student or staff information has been accessed. If, after further investigation, it is determined that student or staff information has been accessed, the district will contact affected individuals."

Extracurricular activities, sports and clubs were running as usual in the district, he said.

Cyberattacks against school systems have become more common and aggressive in recent years, according to experts. They can expose personal information, while costing taxpayers significant amounts to repair school technology, and, in some cases, to pay ransom for the retrieval of stolen data.

On Long Island, 13 districts suffered cyberattacks or data breaches from 2018 through 2020, according to the K12 Security Information Exchange, a Virginia nonprofit that tracks cyberattacks on schools.

Those include Rockville Centre, Montauk, Port Jefferson, Mineola, Sag Harbor, Lindenhurst, Oceanside, Bay Shore, Lynbrook, Miller Place, Remsenburg-Speonk, Great Neck and Floral Park-Bellerose.

More recently, a massive Sept. 8 ransomware attack devastated Suffolk County's systems and services, affecting police communications and delaying more than $140 million in county payments. The attack also forced the county to resort to paper records and in-person payments, applications and evaluations across a range of departments. Suffolk has been gradually returning services on a rolling basis.

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