ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) – A Roanoke cyber expert says the ransomware attack used against a California school system is not the first or last.

Mary Hamilton, CEO of Mad Data, says education systems are the new focus of cyber attacks, and in this case, hackers went after critical systems, like banking info, emails, and applications, giving them access to bank account numbers, social security numbers, and other info.

“They were locking the school system down from being able to operate functionally come Tuesday morning,” said Hamilton.

She says this hack was likely caused by something like a phishing email – an employee clicked a link they shouldn’t have, and it gave the hackers access.

“You have to have the strategies in place, so really having planning with incident response, do walkthroughs in your company, in your school system, how are you going to handle it, how is it going to happen,” Hamilton explained.

She says employees should be trained and retrained, constantly, to avoid those phishing emails and other hacker tactics. She says if the worst does happen, a school district needs a backup, so when they shut the whole system down, it doesn’t shut down classes with it.

“No school is off-limits,” said Hamilton.

WFXR News checked to see what measures local districts take to stop cyber attacks. Henry County Public Schools say they work diligently to ensure security. Elizabeth Fulcher, their director of Technology & Innovation, wrote a statement:

“Our technology team works diligently to ensure the security of our devices and data. Multiple credentials are needed for access to our data, and the data is not all in one place. We have firewalls, anti-virus software, and password policies in place to help with security. Our staff and our ISP staff are constantly monitoring activity on our network.”

Elizabeth Fulcher, Director of Technology & Inovation at Henrey County Public Schools.