St. Mary Parish Named as All-Star School District for Cyber Incident Response

Posted by District on 9/27/2019

At a recent Louisiana Statewide Cyber Incident Response Update meeting in Baton Rouge, St. Mary Parish was listed as one of 20 All-Star School Districts for its rapid response to the cyber security emergency that began on July 23, 2019.  The wide-spread ransomware attack was successful in five public school districts, prompting Governor Edwards to issue an emergency declaration that provided state support to school districts. The immediate action steps outlined by the state and employed by school districts including St. Mary Parish prevented additional attacks on at least seven other public school entities.

In every case, evidence suggests that the initial ransomware infection occurred through phishing emails containing malicious links or attachments that allowed criminals to gain access to district data.

The St. Mary Parish Technology Department urges all email users to continue their vigilance in identifying and reporting any suspected phishing messages that might arrive in their email Inbox.  Users should always be wary of messages—even from people they know--that

  • Contain hyperlinks (including links to OneDrive or SharePoint).
  • Urge users to verify their credentials.
  • Include unexpected attachments.  

If there is suspicion about an email message from another district user or from an outside source, the Technology Department advises users to use a telephone to verify the content of the message before clicking a hyperlink or opening an attachment.