Ransomware attack shuts down school district in South Coast town

In recent years, cybercriminals have targeted companies, governmental entities, schools, and even hospitals.

Swansea Public Schools canceled classes Wednesday due to a ransomware attack that shut down the district’s network, according to Superintendent John Robidoux. 

No student or staff’s personal information is believed to have been compromised by the attack, the superintendent said. 

Robidoux sent out a news release Wednesday afternoon saying that the district’s cybersecurity company, Hub Technology, was able to isolate the attack and shut down the network within minutes of the attack.

“Through a preliminary investigation, it was determined that no personal student or staff information was compromised and no cloud-based files or information was affected by the attack,” Robidoux said in a statement.


“It is believed that this attack occurred due to an encrypted download that was run by someone within the district, but is not believed to be malicious.”

Swansea Public Schools will reopen tomorrow for regular classes, the release said.

“I am thankful that our district has security measures attached to our network that prevented a much larger issue from occurring,” Robidoux said in the release.

WPRI obtained a letter sent to parents at one Swansea elementary school which said the loss of the district’s network impacts “a significant portion of the school day.” 

“There are countless areas of the school that rely on the network either for functioning or for communication, including our copiers and telephones,” the letter read, according to WPRI. 

The district said Swansea Public Schools will continue to participate in KnowBe4 trainings to help school community members learn more about cybersecurity.

What is ransomware?

Ransomware is a type of malware designed to encrypt files on a device and render them unusable, according to, a U.S. government website.

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“Malicious actors then demand ransom in exchange for decryption,” the website explains. 

In recent years, cybercriminals have targeted companies, governmental entities, schools, and even hospitals, sometimes with disastrous results. 


A 2021 ransomware attack shut down one of the nation’s largest energy pipelines; one month later, another ransomware attack slowed ferry service between mainland Massachusetts and Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. 

Near Swansea, Bristol Community College was recently hit with a cyberattack that involved ransomware encryption. The attack impacted “onsite internet and network functions including email, Teams, shared document sites and information systems, for students and employees,” according to the college’s website.


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