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Sun, Sept. 15

Computer network hacked at Camp Verde schools
School will start Monday as scheduled, Danny Howe says

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CAMP VERDE – Technology servers at Camp Verde Unified have been hacked, Administrator-in-Charge Danny Howe told Verde Valley Newspapers, Inc., Thursday.

But the district’s schools will open as scheduled.

“If we’re going to start at ground zero, we might as well start on Monday,” Howe said.

The district’s technology department discovered on July 26 that the servers had been hacked, Howe said. Once they discovered the systems had been hacked, the technology department notified Howe, he said.

“As far as we know, nothing was breached,” Howe said. “None of our information has been compromised.”

The district’s main servers and the backup servers were affected, Howe said. “We are doing our best to get things up and going. We’re going to do whatever we can to get back what was done to us. We’re working at this ruthlessly.”

Howe said Friday that the district does not know yet what information has or has not been destroyed. As for a fix to the servers, Howe said that the technology department “is building the network from ground zero.”

“As they retrieve the data, we’ll cautiously put it back in,” Howe said. “We don’t want to rush putting data back in and find a virus that crashes it again.”

Camp Verde Unified has cybersecurity insurance, Howe said. “We didn’t file a police report. But we did contact our trust.”

Although Howe stressed the importance of a school district’s technology, he also said that there is more to Camp Verde Unified than its computers.

“It is the staff and the students of Camp Verde Unified School District that make it a great place to learn,” the district’s lead administrator said.

The district’s teachers are instructed to “be ready for paper and pencils on Monday,” Howe said. Though in the best case scenario, technology will be restored for the first day of school.

“Worst case scenario, parents can expect roll to be taken the old fashioned way, by hand, until the issues are resolved,” Howe said.

Howe also pointed out that schools “across the nation have been targeted by hackers.”

“We’re not alone,” he said. “We’re not unique.”

According to stories in the New York Times and on Tripwire.com, schools in California, Alabama, New York and Louisiana have also been hacked since 2017.

A July 28, 2019 article in the New York Times stated that nearly two-thirds of the country’s school districts serve fewer than 2,500 students.

The Times quoted Keith R. Krueger, chief executive of the Consortium for School Networking, as saying that cybersecurity “is a tremendously growing concern for school districts.”

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