2 Aug 2018

Hacker demands $US5000 from Hawera High School

From Nine To Noon, 9:28 am on 2 August 2018

The police cyber crime unit is investigating a cyber attack at Hawera High School.

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Photo: 123 RF

On Monday, teachers arrived at school to find a message on their computers demanding the equivalent of $US5000 in Bitcoin (0.65) for the return of data.

Principal Rachel Williams told Nine to Noon the school had been making the switch to a cloud-based system before the attack took place.
"It would have been a lot worse if it had happened a year ago, so not all our staff and students are affected.

"It's just a case of where students save their work to," she said.

Ms Williams said photography and digital technology classes were most likely to be the worst hit.

The school was running an audit with the New Zealand Qualifications Authority and insurers to find out exactly what has been lost.

Once that audit has been completed then they will talk us through the next step of making sure the students aren't disadvantaged by what has happened, because this is no fault of the students or staff," she said.

Board of trustees chairperson Phil Nixon said local computer firms were also helping out.

"The local firms have been very good to step up because we do have to scan every piece of equipment that connects to the network to make sure there is no virus in that equipment," he said.

Mr Nixon said the police cyber crime unit was also investigating to get to the root of the problem.

In the meantime, the entire system had been shut down, to try and isolate the attack.