Madison County school districts prepare for cyber threats

A south Alabama school district has delayed the start of school twice because of a cyber attack.

Posted: Jul 31, 2019 6:10 PM

A south Alabama school district has delayed the start of school twice because of a cyber attack. We wanted to know if the same thing could happen here.

"No matter how busy you are, or how trusting you are, never click on an email or text first without carefully considering whether it is legitimate," said Aurora Yancey.

That's the warning the Madison County school district's tech department sent to teachers and staff this week as they keep an eye on the safety of their own cyber systems.

I.T. specialist Aurora Yancey said while they are prepared with their own protection software, a successful attack would be detrimental for students.

"Identity theft isn't just for adults. It happens with kids as well," said Yancey.

If a student, teacher or member of staff clicked the wrong link while connected to a school's internet, it could give hackers access to information throughout the whole school internet system, like social security numbers, medical records and more.

"We try to teach our students and staff as much as humanly possible about phishing attacks and that's one of the main reasons people are susceptible to ransomware," said Yancey.

Yancey says this threat is especially concerning because she has two kids of her own.

"Security of my children is very important especially because I know what can happen," said Yancey.

That's why Yancey says at home, she limits screen time, blocks sites and monitors everything her kids do on their devices.

"I go through great lengths to protect my children from being compromised, or their identities being compromised," said Yancey.

Madison County teachers also had training this summer about online safety. Madison City Schools said they held special meetings because of the hack. We reached out to Huntsville City Schools and they didn't respond.

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