Experts say hackers target government entities, while CRCSD instructed to not comment on “cyber security incident”

Published: Jul. 7, 2022 at 8:35 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - The Cedar Rapids School Board President told TV9 district lawyers are instructing the district to not comment on an issue it’s a “cyber security incident” on Wednesday night.

The incident essentially shut down the Cedar Rapids Community School District for a week. The closure has left parents struggling for childcare and nonprofits organizing to serve meals.

Officials from the Cedar Rapids Community School District have declined to say if money or if student or staff personal information was stolen. The district hasn’t released any specific details related to the “cyber security incident” either as of Thursday night, around four days after the district’s announcement to parents on Monday.

Doug Jacobson, who is a professor at Iowa State University, said the district might not even know the extent of their issues. He said it can take days to weeks to understand the consequences from a potential hack.

”In some sense it’s not they are necessarily withholding, they just might not know yet,” Jacobson said. “It typically takes days or even a week to figure out what they may have done.”

He also said the resources, like staff size and larger budgets, along with the amount of data make government entities a target for hackers.

Bradon Farmer, who is the director of technology for the Vinton-Shellsburg School District, said a hacker from Croatia attacked his district in 2015. He said the district has multiple security measures and struggles to balance security, cost and usability.

“You gotta find that balance,” Farmer said. “Are you willing to pay to safeguard that student machine to protect their paper or are we willing to pay a few extra thousand dollars a year to protect our student’s and staff’s data?”

He also said the district has insurance for a potential cyber attack.

TV9 requested the insurance policy for the Cedar Rapids Community School District Tuesday afternoon along with other materials and hasn’t received those documents yet.

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