Superintendent Testifies before Senate Committee about Cyberattack
On Wednesday, Dec. 2, Superintendent Torres-Rodriguez testified before a U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. She had been invited by Subcommittee member Senator Maggie Hassan to share what happened in early September when HPS computer systems were targets of a cyberattack that resulted in the delay of school opening.
Via satellite, the Superintendent shared prepared remarks about the events in early September that disrupted a number of systems in the district and City of Hartford. She explained how our shared technical support team, MHIS, responded quickly and effectively to the attack, but that the impact on district operations was severe and lasting. The Superintendent explained that the cost of restoring systems in terms of resources and effort were significant. All computers connected to the school’s network before the attack had to be “reimaged,” or reset to factory settings at a crucial time in the year – all during a pandemic. This work depleted the supply of laptops needed for students to engage in learning online.
The purpose of the hearing was to understand the events and effects on the school system and consider what more the federal government could do to prevent future attacks. While she thanked the MHIS team, city officials, Connecticut National Guard and FBI for their support and quick action to restore operations, Superintendent Torres-Rodriguez noted, “we do need to protect our critical infrastructure by preventing such attacks in the future.”
“While the attack was unexpected, and damaging in many ways, I am grateful for the way our local, state, and federal agencies collaborated to address the cyberattack and assisted with the restoration efforts,” she added. “We are all committed to serving our constituents, our students, in the best way possible.”
To read or hear her testimony and the hearing, visit the Senate subcommittee’s website:
Video (Superintendent remarks begins at 1:12:03)