Ransomware attack on Judson ISD communication system confirmed by district officials

The district says it is currently without phone and email access and can’t access its full media contact directory

LIVE OAK, Texas – Judson ISD officials confirm that they are investigating a ransomware attack that has left them without phone or email access.

The school district first announced the “suspected but unconfirmed ransomware attack” Friday afternoon in a release. However, the district confirmed that it is a ransomware attack during a special board meeting on Saturday afternoon.

Judson ISD’s Chief Communications Officer Dr. Nicole Taguinod issued the following statement Friday:

“It has been determined that Judson ISD’s information technology systems have been compromised as the result of a suspected but unconfirmed ransomware attack. We immediately notified federal, state and local law enforcement. We have also engaged independent forensic investigators and third-party experts who are working around the clock, in cooperation with law enforcement, to determine the nature and extent of this attack. It is unclear at this time what information might have been accessed. There is nothing more important to Judson ISD than the safety, security and wellbeing of our employees, students and their families. This includes the protection of your personal data stored within the district’s information technology systems, and we are committed to a successful resolution. We will be sharing updates on our website, social media and the district mass communication system as we are able to do so.”

Judson ISD is still working with forensic investigators, law enforcement, and others to determine the severity of the breach.

On Saturday, Superintendent Jeanette Ball briefing staff during the special meeting on the latest in the ransomware attack investigation.

“There is not really a lot of news because this is something so new and different,” Ball said. “We still do not have access to phones or emails but we have 600 hotspots for our students to be able to continue summer school.”

She said not knowing what, if any, information has been compromised poses a major concern for the district’s parents.

“It could be anything from personnel data, student data, registration data,” she said. “Those kind of items.”

Ball said for the time being, she is encouraging everyone to be safe than sorry, which is why she is keeping things old school.

“There is a Gmail account that we have created but I think right now, everybody feels so insecure about that. So I think for a while, I would say just until we know a little more, let’s do face to face like we used to,” Ball said.

This is a developing story, and we’ll bring more updates as they become available. For more updates, visit the school district’s website here.

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About the Authors:

Cody King is a digital journalist for KSAT 12. She previously worked for WICS/WRSP 20 in Springfield, Illinois.

Japhanie Gray is a reporter with KSAT12 News.