BEATRICE – Educational Service Unit Number Five did a lot of work over the summer to help the Beatrice Public School District upgrade technology within the district.

But the ESU’s experts also scored a big catch……warding off a potential ransomware attack on the district…similar to one that was very damaging to the City of Beatrice.

Ryan McDowell is Technology Director for ESU-Number Five.

"The City of Beatrice actually got hit by one and locked down all of their files. This is exactly the same thing. We can talk about it now, openly, just because of the way everybody responded quickly. It happened at 8:06 in the morning, and in about a couple of hours, we knew exactly what happened and we had it mitigated. Everybody was working together, we found out what it was...we found it was on one server. We had actually two servers that got hit....the second one actually got encrypted, locked all of the files. This could have been catastrophic to the district. We would have had to pay the ransom, or just lost all of the files. But, we had backups in place...we found out what it was, locked it down, restored it....and nobody noticed, hardly."

ESU-Five Technology Specialist David Camara said schools are becoming a greater target for ransomware attacks..."especially with all of this remote learning going on. Luckily, we caught it right away."

This past summer, the Beatrice Public Schools contract agreement with the ESU resulted in adding new printers, updating the phone system, doing security updates, beginning consolidation and organization of computer servers.

The ESU is undertaking work on goals with the school district. Among them… improving technology communication, simplifying classroom technology tools, upgrading technology training of school staff and implementing key cards for systems in the district.