Update from Superintendent Stephens

March 9, 2023

BCS Staff and Families:

I want to provide you with an update relative to the February 3, 2023, cybersecurity incident that involved the use of malware which encrypted some of our systems. As soon as the incident was detected, we quickly took steps to secure our network and launch an investigation that involves multiple agencies and cybersecurity professionals.

In coordination with the ongoing forensics investigation to determine what data may have been affected, our efforts have been focused on restoring operations, securing our network, scanning systems to ensure they are safe, and conducting additional tasks to further secure our network environment. We continue to make progress toward full operational status.

While this investigation is not complete, we have learned that certain data that was stored on affected systems was accessed by an unauthorized party, and we want to provide proper notice to those who we believe could be affected. Out of an abundance of caution, we will be providing notification via the US Postal Service to Berkeley County Schools employees employed after January 1, 2013, that the security incident could have involved some of their personal information. Notices will begin mailing on Friday, March 10, 2023, and provide action steps for safeguarding their identity and the arrangement for credit and identity protection services at no cost to eligible individuals. At this point in time, we have no evidence that any student personal information was involved. Should Berkeley County Schools be made aware of additional data that could have been affected, notice will be provided to those individuals as well in accordance with applicable laws.

I know incidents like this are alarming and create concerns for all involved. I absolutely understand these feelings. Unfortunately, Berkeley County Schools is not the first school district to experience a cyber event this year, and it is likely we will not be the last. Thank you for your ongoing patience and understanding and please know that the action steps we are taking are guided and advised by industry professionals including the implementation of additional measures to enhance the security of our network environment.

As a school community, we have witnessed many positives over the past weeks. We have leveraged national, state, and cross-county relationships that enabled us to continue our focus on providing instruction and related services to our students. Our staff is demonstrating their commitment, willingness, and ability to pivot to alternate instructional deliveries. Genuinely, I regret this occurred and offer my apologies, and in the same breath offer my sincere appreciation for the many hours of behind-the-scenes work that enables us to be as functional as possible given the circumstances.

In a day and age such as this, we should remain vigilant by regularly reviewing our financial accounts and credit reports for any unauthorized activity. We should always take the time to question and review all personal and work emails and account activity that seem out of character or unusual.

Once again, I want to offer my thanks to our students, staff, and families for your patience, understanding and cooperation. Your recognition and acknowledgement of the scope of this work is appreciated. On behalf of the Berkeley County Board of Education, I thank our entire Berkeley County community and our state and federal partners for providing assistance and support so we could focus on the goal of providing instruction and services to our students.

For those receiving an incident notice this week, a dedicated, toll-free incident response line has been established to address questions. Beginning March 10, 2023, the call center can be reached by calling 833-753-4667, Monday-Friday, 9:00am-9:00 pm EST.

Thank you, again.

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Ronald E. Stephens, IV., Superintendent

Berkeley County Schools

Berkeley County Schools, WV's second largest and fastest growing school district, boasts a diverse student population recognized statewide for great success in academics, the arts and athletics.

This newsletter is a publication of the Berkeley County Schools' Communications Office on Thursday, March 9, 2023.