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Sunapee Schools Discuss Attempted Ransomware Attack With Sen. Hassan


School leaders from the Sunapee School District met with U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan Friday to talk about cybersecurity. The district was the recent target of an attempted ransomware attack.

Sunapee Technology Director Mike Montore was going through his Sunday night routine on Columbus Day Weekend when he noticed he could no longer log into the district's servers.

"I came in Monday morning, and it was real obvious, real quick as soon as I started," he said. 

The district lost four days of data that weren't backed up; teachers with lesson plans saved on the server couldn't access them for two weeks. The cafeteria kept track of who was buying lunch using pen and paper for a few days.  

Superintendent Russell Holden says it could have been worse, but the district had a plan in place and a separate back up system. 

"Truly, if we weren't where we were from being able to restore, we would have been down a considerable amount of time, probably close to eight days at a standstill,” said Holden.

After the incident, everyone district-wide was required to change their email and network passwords.

"We're more poised if this were to happen again,” Montore said, “We're not paying ransom."

Montore and the superintendent told Hassan that more resources and training could better prepare school districts and municipalities for a cyber attack.

A 2018 New Hampshire House bill required all school districts to have a data security plan in place by June of this year.

Daniela is an editor in NHPR's newsroom. She leads NHPR's Spanish language news initiative, ¿Qué Hay de Nuevo, New Hampshire? and the station's climate change reporting project, By Degrees. You can email her at
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