TANGIPAHOA PARISH, La. (WDSU) –
The Tangipahoa Parish School System phone lines and email will be offline for the most part on Monday as a precaution after district officials discovered a potential cybersecurity issue on their network Sunday evening.
Tangipahoa School Superintendent Melissa Stilley said the issue appears to be similar to problems experienced in several district offices in North Louisiana last week.
“Three North Louisiana school districts reported last week that cyberattacks had shut down their district phone lines and locked and encrypted school system data,” Stilley said.. She added that it’s a pattern schools and local governments are seeing all too often across the country.
“These cybercriminals target state and local government agencies, infecting their computer networks with malware or locking down the network for a ransom,” Stilley said.
Last week, state officials declared a state of emergency after several North Louisiana school districts were targeted. Stilley said her office has been on a heightened alert, and over the weekend, leaders detected similar activity on our local network.
“As a precautionary measure, we have shut down the IP phone connections at all of our offices, including schools, Central Office and our registration center so the team can mitigate any potential spread of the malware,” Stilley said. Employees and students cannot access their TangiSchools email through the district website; however, email is still accessible on personal phones and other email readers.
“Our team is working around the clock to address any concerns and certify our backup systems,” Stilley said. She said an announcement will be made as soon as the network is back online and operational.