Prince George’s County Public Schools, one of the largest school districts in the U.S., is grappling with the aftermath of a cyberattack that disrupted its network. With over 130,000 students in the Washington, D.C., suburbs, the district announced the discovery of the attack, initially characterized as a “broad network outage”.
Of the district’s 180,000 accounts, 4,500 were reportedly “impacted,” though the nature of this impact remains unclear, particularly whether sensitive data was compromised. While critical network systems have been restored, all users are being required to reset their passwords as a precaution.
As a cybersecurity firm continues its investigation, the affected users will be notified about their compromised accounts. This incident, affecting primarily staff accounts, coincides with the district’s preparations for the upcoming school year. Amid concerns over whether class schedules for teachers will be released on time, the district has yet to confirm whether this was a ransomware attack.
This cyberattack is part of a series of incidents affecting major U.S. school districts in 2023, including in states like Minnesota, Iowa, West Virginia, and more, which experienced outages and data theft.
Recognizing the growing seriousness of these attacks, the U.S. government recently convened a “Cybersecurity Summit for K-12 Schools,” attended by first lady Jill Biden and senior administration officials. In response to the rising threat, the government is working on increased cybersecurity funding and private sector collaboration to better protect the education sector from future cyberattacks.