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Mississippi Schools Victims of Cyber Attack

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Mississippi Schools Victims of Cyber Attack
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Lincoln County School District is working to restore it's computer systems after a cyberattack earlier this week. MPB's Kobee Vance reports.

Lincoln County School District has been the victim of an attack called ransomware. It's a virus that gets on your computer, encrypts your files and holds them for ransom. School is still in session, but the district's four schools have been affected. District leaders are now working with several agencies to solve this issue. Their priorities are restoring phones, intercom systems and wireless Internet.

Jeremy Thompson, owner of Computer Doctor and Phone Surgeons in Hattiesburg, says anyone can be targeted by a ransomware attack because any file can be encrypted.

"It starts grabbing every type of file that contains any kind of data. So like text files, pictures, or more importantly databases. The files themselves are unreadable because it's basically just scrambled all of the information that it contained."

The FBI is working with the school district to solve the issue. Michelle Sutphin is the Special Agent in charge of the Jackson Field Office of the FBI. She says reporting the crime is the proper response.

"Filing a report is necessary so law enforcement, local and federal, are able to identify criminal groups that are working together. The ransomware is probably doing a shotgun effect and trying to target as many people as they can that have vulnerabilities. So any time you get an email or you get an update on your phone or your computer that says 'You've got a new update on your operating system' you should upload that, and do that as soon as possible."

The school district says they are nearly finished restoring their communication systems.
To report a cybercrime, contact your local law enforcement, or visit IC3.gov.