Starting last week, serious technology issues interrupted basic operations at Minneapolis Public Schools. The extent of the damage was severe enough for the district to cancel district-wide conferences on February 21. In-person classes were canceled for the rest of the week, due to the winter storm, and students were instructed to get guidance from their teachers about e-learning for the rest of the week. In-person classes were not canceled due to technology issues.
Last week, students were having issues logging into the Clever portal which supports Lexia, Seesaw, Dreambox, and ST Math.
“MPS staff are working around the clock with third-party IT specialists to investigate the source of this disruption, confirm its impact on our systems, and restore full functionality to everyone as soon as possible,” reads a statement from the district. The district’s full statement follows this article.
Schools have communicated with families about technological issues but further details are hard to come by.
Minneapolis Schools Voices reached out to two information technology managers who have decades of experience in education network security. Both sources, speaking on background, believe a technology outage of this nature is related to ransomware. Somebody clicking a link they shouldn’t have.
“The good news is that we are able to restore the impacted data from viable backups that MPS had in place prior to the event,” the district’s statement reads. “This means that no data will be lost due to this incident.”
Earlier this month, FOX 9 reported that Minneapolis Public Schools almost paid $500,000 in April 2020 in an attempted cyber fraud.
Minneapolis Public Schools statement about the IT disruptions this week:
“Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS) recently began experiencing technical difficulties affecting the operability of certain computer systems. MPS staff are working around the clock with third-party (non-MPS) IT specialists to investigate the source of this disruption, confirm its impact on our systems, and restore full functionality to everyone as soon as possible.
The good news is that we are able to restore the impacted data from viable backups that MPS had in place prior to the event. This means that no data will be lost due to this incident.
In order to further secure our systems, MPS deployed an advanced endpoint detection response tool to necessary endpoints. In layperson’s terms, think of this as a virus alert system that ensures you can continue using your MPS device safely and securely.
We have also updated relevant passwords, implemented additional multi-factor authentication where possible and are working with a third-party specialist to monitor our network. As part of our ongoing investigation, we are assessing measures already in place to protect the integrity of our systems and will continue to work to enhance these protections.
The confidentiality, privacy, and security of your information in our care is among our highest priorities. We remain committed to safeguarding the information in our care and will continue to take steps to ensure the security of our systems.”