Letter to Employees - Ransomware

By Office of Communication and Community Relations
October 16, 2020

This letter from the Superintendent was mailed to FCPS employees this week. The version posted here on our website has been modified to remove employee-specific information.

Dear FCPS Employee:

I am writing to express my gratitude to you and every other employee of the Fairfax County Public Schools (“FCPS”) for your continued hard work and dedication during these extraordinary times.  I know that the pandemic and virtual learning have placed stress on our faculty and staff, and I am committed to supporting all of you in this world class system.

As you may know, during the first week of September 2020, Fairfax County Public Schools was unfortunately the victim of a sophisticated cyber-attack involving ransomware.  Ransomware is a form of malware that is used by hackers to prevent users from accessing files, and in some cases, extract and hold data hostage until a ransom is paid.  We discovered the attack on or about September 6, and promptly took steps to secure our systems and begin investigating the nature and scope of the incident.  We are implementing a series of cyber security enhancements and have engaged leading outside security experts to assist with our investigation.

As part of our ongoing investigation, we are working hard to identify the information that was taken.  We will notify impacted individuals whose information may have been involved in the attack in the coming weeks, as appropriate.  At this time, it appears that only a subset of individuals in the FCPS community, including just a limited number of students, were impacted by the incident.  However, out of an abundance of caution, we are offering credit monitoring and identity restoration services for one year at no cost to all current FCPS employees and their spouses and minor dependents, regardless of whether their data was impacted by this incident.  We will also offer the same complimentary services, to impacted persons we identify during the course of our investigation, as appropriate.

We are alerting you about this issue so you can take steps to help protect your identity and credit information just in case you were impacted by this incident.  You are entitled under U.S. law to one free credit report annually from each of the three nationwide consumer reporting agencies.  To order your free credit report, visit www.annualcreditreport.com or call toll-free at 1-877-322-8228.  We encourage you to remain vigilant by reviewing your account statements and monitoring your free credit reports.  The enclosed Reference Guide provides more information about requesting credit reports, registering for credit monitoring and identity restoration services, and additional recommendations by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission on the protection of personal information. 

We deeply regret that this incident occurred and are committed to supporting you. If you have any questions regarding this issue, please call (855) 347-6550 toll-free Monday through Friday from 9 am – 11 pm Eastern, or Saturday and Sunday from 11 am – 8 pm Eastern (excluding major U.S. holidays).   Be prepared to provide your engagement number (provided in each letter mailed to FCPS employees on Oct. 15).

Sincerely,

Scott Brabrand, Superintendent

Fairfax County Public Schools

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