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Roseburg Schools pay ransom to recover data from computer attack

(File photo/SBG)

ROSEBURG, Ore. - The ransomware attack on Roseburg Public School computers did not compromise any staff or student information, Roseburg Public Schools said Friday.

That's the assessment of Navigant, the company helping the district recover data from the May 5 attack.

But the district has had to pay the ransom to recover years worth of data.

The attack froze access to the district's servers, disrupting email and websites.

“We are grateful for all the hard work our IT staff and outside organizations have put in to repairing our systems and recovering our data,” said Superintendent Gerry Washburn. “We also thank the staff, students, parents and community for their patience during this time.”

The school district remains hopeful that the majority of its data will be retrieved and that no permanent damage occurred in the attack.

But it's come at a cost.

"As the investigation and recovery process proceeded, the district, its insurance company and Navigant determined that the most practical and cost-effective method of recovering the district’s data was to pay the ransom requested through the attacking software," the district said Friday. "Doing so is allowing the district to recover years’ worth of data and to resume regular day-to-day operations."

Washburn said paying the ransom became the best option.

“We exhausted all efforts to avoid paying the requested ransom out of concern that more damage could be caused; however, the experts ultimately determined that the solution was worth the risk,” Washburn said. “The costs associated with attempting to decrypt the sophisticated software code were prohibitive, and we wanted to get back to focusing on our students’ educational experiences.”

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