Horry County Schools approves paying computer virus ransom

Horry County Schools approves paying computer virus ransom

The Horry County school system remains locked out of several servers after a ransom computer virus got into the system last week. Charles Hucks is the executive director of technology for Horry County Schools, he’s had non-stop 20 hour days this past week to try to restore locked up data. The virus was discovered last Monday. Servers were immediately shut down to stop the malware from spreading further, and that did interrupt some online services. Hucks says HCS was not targeted to gain access to data, but a high-level encryption was used to lock up the data on the schools’ servers.  

As far as they can tell, nothing was stolen or removed, and staff and student information is safe. Hucks says they have been able to back up most of the lost data, but 25 servers with information for elementary schools are still encrypted with no way to get in. Administrators approved an $8,500 ransom to unlock the servers, but they’ve had trouble making the payment. Hucks says the ransom had to be paid in Bitcoins, but purchasing them is more difficult than going to your local bank. The digital currency is available online from dealers in the U.S. and abroad; so they are being careful who they make a purchase from.

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