Newfane schools’ computer system restored

By | January 25, 2019

NEWFANE — Newfane Central School District’s computer servers are up and running again after a recent forced shutdown to prevent the spread of a virus found on an elementary school computer.

According to district Superintendent Michael Baumann, an anomaly was detected on a single computer Dec. 5 as security software scanned the system. The anomaly was identified as “Emotet,” a banking trojan malware program. Administrators believe the malware came in “piggybacked” to an email.Sy

No server was infected and no data was compromised at any point, Baumann said.

“At no time during any of this was any personally identifiable information, no demographics, no employees or student data, none of that stuff … breached or made public. All of that kind of data was always secure,” he said.

Upon detecting the virus, administration decided to shut down all of the district’s computer servers, which house student and staff data and programs, and isolate them to prevent the virus spreading to any server. While the servers were shut down, all information on them was backed up.

In addition, technicians from the district and and Erie-1 BOCES “scrubbed” approximately 800 computers, one by one, according to Baumann, while checking repeatedly to ensure the virus did not reappear on any of the computers. BOCES did not charge the district for that service, which was completed by the end of the holiday break, he added.

Servers were put back online in priority order. The district business office servers were restored first to ensure bill payment, payroll processing and cafeteria business operation, Baumann said. All servers were back online as of last week and their safe status was verified by MVP Network Consultants.

The district hired MVP on the advice of its insurer; the cost was less than $2,000, Baumann said, and the company provided the district with a report suggesting practices to prevent anomalies from infecting its computers in the future.