District-wide cyberattack disrupts online systems

Delilah Brumer and Gabrielle Lashley

The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) faced a cyberattack during this Labor Day weekend, which shut down most computer systems and apps and hindered the functioning of schools on Tuesday and today.

“I want to thank our students, families and employees for doing their part in the ongoing recovery from this weekend’s cyberattack,” LAUSD Superintendent Alberto Carvalho said in a press release.

The district has identified that the cyberattack was caused by ransomware. The attack affected district systems including Schoology, MiSiS, school emails, payroll and Single Sign On. According to LAUSD, the district’s “most critical” systems are online. Daniel Pearl Magnet High School (DPMHS) students and teachers were instructed to reset their school account passwords this week, with many still unable to access their accounts at this time. 

“It’s still very hard to get the right information and I haven’t been able to get on,” Video Production teacher Mark Middlebrook said. “It’s a whole different ball game and I’ve had to improvise.”

As of yesterday, approximately 11 out of 15 DPMHS teachers and 40% of DPMHS students have access to their accounts, according to Principal Armen Petrossian. Several teachers had to resort to paper assignments and handouts since many couldn’t access online grades or Schoology lesson plans.

“I’m having trouble resetting my password,” sophomore Vanessa Morales said. “Most of my classmates are all good. They reset their passwords but I am still having trouble.”

Some students said they first heard about the cyberattack once they arrived at school on Tuesday, but others found out about it on social media. 

“When I saw it on social media, I saw the title and I kind of blew past it because I thought it wasn’t real,” senior Jiszelle Arana said. “When I came back, Mr. Hughes told us about it and I was like ‘Oh, it is real.’”

According to the Los Angeles Times, the FBI and Department of Homeland Security are involved in investigating the cyberattack. 

The LAUSD and DPMHS administrations are working to reconnect the school community to all online systems. A member of the district’s IT department was at DPMHS this afternoon to help teachers reset their passwords.

“The cyberattack had a far-reaching effect,” Petrossian said. “Everybody’s in the same boat. We’re trying to get everybody back on.”