Papillion-La Vista schools unraveling computer system intrusion

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SARPY COUNTY, Neb. (WOWT) -- School is out for the summer but there are employees with the Papillion-La Vista School District who suddenly have a lot of work to do before classes begin in the fall.

The district is dealing with an unwanted guest in the computer system.

Spokesperson Annette Eyman said, “It’s believed in this case it was to try to shut down the system and hold it for ransom but that has not happened.”

It didn’t happen because the district’s technology department caught the invader early. The district got in contact with its employees telling them to change their passwords and user names, just to be safe. The fix will take time but it won’t cost taxpayers.

“We were fortunate that we did have an insurance policy that covered this type of a situation. We contacted our insurance company right away.”

Experts say the problem Papillion-La Vista is having with its computer system is very common.

Infinet Technology’s Chris Breci said, “They get hold of one computer and it can infect and encrypt or just rewrite all of the data that it can touch from that computer. Goes out to the server. They’re able to hit cloud storage now. It’s pretty bad.”

Breci said attacking a computer system is against the law but the crooks are hard to catch.

“It’s definitely illegal. The problem is it usually comes from overseas and it’s pretty tough to go after. There’s a lot of higher level agencies that are trying to track it down and stop it.”

Papillion-La Vista officials hope to have the problem solved before the beginning of the new school year and they will most likely change the way they work on the districts computers.

Officials with the district say the situation there is being investigated by an outside cyber security expert.