Computer virus requires Horry County Schools pay hacker $8,000

Horry County Schools respond to claims they overreacted canceling classes (Image 1)

CONWAY, SC (WBTW)-          Several of Horry County school district’s servers had to be shut down after a ransom computer virus got into the system. Now schools officials are working with state and federal investigators to determine what to do next.

Spokesperson Teal Harding says they found out about the virus Monday morning and immediately shut down the district’s servers to prevent it from spreading.

According to Harding, the virus requires a cryptic key to unlock information and the only way to get that key is by paying $8,000. State and federal law enforcement are currently investigating the virus. It is believed to have originated in an old piece of software, which the district only no longer uses.

In the meantime, Harding says the technology department has been working around the clock to re-open servers unaffected by the virus. She wants to assure parents that no personal information has been compromised.

“We have very sophisticated firewalls and security systems, but it’s just like anything else the best system that you have is only as good as the next person to figure out how to break through it,” she stated.

Administration is still deciding whether to pay the $8,000, but Harding says the amount is small when you figure how many hours have already been spent trying to restore the system.

She says the district is considering extra security precautions to make sure this doesn’t happen again. Harding expects all of the servers to be up and running by the end of next week.

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