Hardin County School libraries getting back on track after hack attack

JAN. 16– Although officials still are not sure where or who the hack attack that disabled Hardin County Schools libraries last week came from, they said Friday they are well on their way to returning the county’s school libraries to normal operation.
Director of Schools Michael Davis said the school system’s director of technology, Levin Edwards, and his staff, working closely with the library system’s software vendor Book Systems, have re-installed a clean version of the software and were able to recover most of the files at Hardin County High School.
The schools system’s technology team was also able to successfully decrypt some data files through their own efforts – without paying the demanded ransom of 1.5 Bitcoin (approximately $1,246 as of Friday afternoon) – and those files were forwarded to Book Systems for analyses, which determined the files were “clean and usable.” But, the files were library backup data from 2014 so any books entered into the library system after 2014 would have to be reentered.


Shiloh Park seeking volunteers on MLK Day to help with luminaries

JAN. 13-- Shiloh National Military Park is inviting residents of Hardin County and the surrounding areas to serve as volunteers on the annual Martin Luther King Jr. holiday on Jan. 16 from 9 a.m. to noon.
Volunteers will be helping with preparations for the 155th anniversary of the Battle of Shiloh, joining hundreds of thousands of Americans across the country in volunteer service.
Shiloh Park has planned a day of service that will “leverage the strength of local citizens to commemorate an event deeply rooted in the community’s history, and advance Dr. King’s dream of opportunity for all,” the park said in a statement.
On the evening of April 8, nearly 24,000 luminaries are to be lit in memory of the soldiers killed, wounded and missing as a result of the Battle of Shiloh. Volunteers are needed to help prepare the luminaries leading up to the anniversary of the battle.


Hacker cripples Hardin County Schools library system, demands ransom

JAN. 7– The Hardin County School System’s library computer network has been hacked and is being held for ransom, according to school officials.
An unknown organization or individual has infiltrated the network serving all seven libraries and inserted a “ransomware” program. The malicious software is designed to block access to a computer system until the demanded money is paid.
“We’ve heard about this kind of thing happening elsewhere,” said Hardin County Director of Schools Michael Davis, “but who would have ever thought it would happen here? This is the craziest thing I think I’ve ever seen.”
The hackers locked the library server system and encrypted all  the files.  They say they will send a code to undo the hack when paid.
The library server system tracks every book in every library in the school’s system. Without it, the libraries have no way other than old-fashioned paper and pencil to check books out to students or keep track of what books are out.
There is also no access to any kind of card catalog. Students can’t research where a needed book is in the library to help them find it on the shelves, for research projects or in-library reading.
“Our libraries aren’t completely shut down, but they surely aren’t going to be running full-throttle until we get this fixed,” said Levin Edwards, Hardin County Schools’ technology director.


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