More than 4,000 Pinal County school employees received their paychecks earlier this week following a ransomware attack last month at the Pinal County School Superintendent’s office.
The attack on the Pinal County School Office Data Processing Service Consortium took place Sunday, Sept. 24, however the news was not made public by Pinal County schools until Friday, Sept. 29.
“Unfortunately, payroll processing has been impacted for school districts that had not processed payroll prior to last weekend’s attack,” according to the initial statement. “To ensure employees are paid as promptly as possible, the school Superintendent’s Office is today printing checks for the 4,514 impacted staff …”
In an updated post this week, the Pinal County School Superintendent’s office stated that as of “Monday, Oct. 2, 2023, all staff members from school districts: Apache Junction, Casa Grande High School, Combs, Coolidge, Florence, Maricopa, Mary C. O’Brien, Oracle, Picacho, Sacaton, Santa Cruz, Stanfield, Superior and Toltec have received paychecks.”
Casa Grande Elementary, Central Arizona Valley Institute of Technology, Cobre Valley Institute of Technology, Eloy Elementary, Mammoth-San Manuel, Ray and Red Rock Elementary apparently were not affected.
The updated statement further added that the data processing service “has been fully restored with no concerns of any additional complications to reoccur.”
“The investigation of the incident remains ongoing with authorities, and the office will continue to be more than willing to provide as much assistance as needed,” the statement added. “At this time, there is no indication of any employee data breach.”
As a result of the breach, the statement said, the Arizona Department of Homeland Security is now providing a grant to monitor software at all Pinal County school districts.
At its Wednesday meeting, Pinal County Board of Supervisor Jeffrey McClure announced that he would like the topic to be placed on a future agenda for discussion.
“In light of this last week with the breach of the superintendent of schools data breach for paychecks and all, I’d like to understand how the county is working with (county schools superintendent Jill) Broussard and her department to uncover the issues related to the data breach and ways to overcome future similar incidents,” McClure said at the meeting. “Could we hear or have a report or a discussion item on this in the near future?”
McClure’s motion was passed.
We’d like to invite our readers to submit their civil comments, pro or con, on this issue. Email AZOpinions@iniusa.org.