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Following a cyberattack on the district, LRSD agrees to pay a $250,000 ransom

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Little Rock, Arkansas – Following a recent cyber incident that occurred last month, the Little Rock School District has made the decision to proceed with a settlement agreement.

The board met on Monday evening for slightly under 40 minutes. More information on the incident was presented, and they talked about how to deal with the breach, pay the ransom, set up system protection mechanisms, and get the data returned.

No matter how they voted, according to LRSD Superintendent Dr. Jermall Wright, this circumstance would have a bad effect.

“This is a horrible situation; I know I keep saying that but it’s horrible and there are no good options,” Wright said.

Wright claims that the inquiry into what data was taken from the district is still underway.

Leigh Ann Wilson, a board member for the LRSD, unintentionally disclosed how much the district will pay to cyber terrorists.

“Authorize the superintendent to annul into a settlement agreement with the most favorable terms that would end the current network incident,” Wilson said. “Which the one before is at $250,000 plus the fees.”

Wilson’s statement drew an immediate response from LRSD board member Vicky Hatter, who said, “You’re not really supposed to say that.”

In the end, the board voted 6 to 3 to pay the ransom to the hackers in the hopes of recovering the stolen data.

Wright claims that the district was informed about the incident regarding illegal activity on their network on November 11. Six of their nine board members discussed what to do about the breach before telling the public, he claimed, during an emergency meeting on November 21.

“It makes it look like we intentionally were being negligent in holding back information intentionally, and that is simply not the case,” Wright said.

Wright reassured the populace that while the hackers were the adversary, the district was not. He claimed that they did not want to worsen the situation for anyone affected and instead sought to rapidly settle it.

Wright claimed that they were exempt from releasing FOIA documents to the public as a result of two district statutes. On FOIA requests, they did consult with the council.

“The Arkansas general assembly is clearly and rightfully concerned about public release of information related to cyber-attacks, systems designed to protect public entities from cyber-attacks, and a public entities response to a cyber-attack,” Wright said.

Regarding this event, the district has notified the FBI. They did, however, promise to endeavor to give resources to protect personal information in the event that any student, parent, staff member, or contractor’s information was compromised.

Wright did not disclose the date on which the ransom will be paid or the perpetrator of this incident. Only two individuals showed up to offer public commentary.

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