Cyber attack shuts email system at Wall schools

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FILE PHOTO / THE COAST STAR

WALL TOWNSHIP— Wall Township School District experienced a cyber attack this week, forcing the district to shut down its email system on Tuesday morning.

“The district email system was shut down for approximately three hours this morning,” Superintendent Tracy Handerhan said at Tuesday night’s Board of Education meeting. “The district experienced network intrusions and is currently assisting members of the investigative team to identify the scope of the breach and to resolve the problem.”

Ms. Handerhan informed families of the intrusion via an automated phone call sent out Tuesday morning.

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Both the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office and Wall Township Police department are  investigating the matter, she said. Both departments are working with other agencies about “discovered activity on Wall Township public school networks.”

The Wall Township Police Department and the  Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office confirmed the investigation with The Coast Star.

“Please note that we are taking all necessary steps to identify and remedy any possible issues related to the situation. I’d like to thank the community for its patience as we mitigate this issue,” Ms. Handerhan said.

This is the second time in a few months that the Wall Township School district has experienced a cyber attack. 

On Oct. 26, 2020, the district sent a letter home to parents addressing intermittent connectivity issues. Cyber attacks were determined to be the cause, prompting the district then to upgrade its security systems. 

Board of Education president Ralph Addonizio said he cannot disclose any more details on the attack, but said  that the board would continue to look into security options as it has in the past.

“We continue to look at our security and upgrade when necessary,” he said, noting that these breaches are not entirely uncommon.

“It’s unfortunate. It feels like we’re getting picked on more [by hackers], but in reality that’s the way it is right now.”

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