The Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff's Office says it temporarily shut down its operating network last week after indications of a possible ransomware attack.

No information was affected or removed, and it appears that all personal, critical and confidential information was kept safe, Sheriff Daniel Edwards said in a news release on Monday.

The potential attack follows a similar one on the Tangipahoa Parish School Board early last week, and was the trigger for the Sheriff's Office to analyze its own systems, according to the release.

The release states that it was likely TPSO was infected or breached "because of the close relationships and intercommunications with the school board" but it does not specify the details of the attack nor of the communications between the two entities.

"The department's critical systems were shut down briefly while investigating the possible breach, however all have been back up and running," Edwards said in the release.

TPSO used IT staff and contracted network consultants to assess the breach and secure the network.

The recent attack on Tangipahoa Parish's school system was the fourth of its kind targeting school districts prior to kids returning to classrooms in August. 

The school district said in a social media post Friday that its attack limited the district's ability to communicate back-to-school information with parents via computer, meaning staff had to manually work the phones and call families to inform them of critical information before school started Monday.

The cyberattack made it impossible for officials to utilize the bus system online, according to the post, so officials had to remap all routes using paper maps and highlighters. Copies of those maps are available at the Tangipahoa Parish schools website.

"The cyberattack has hindered many of our plans, but we refuse to allow it to ruin our students' return to school," Superintendent Melissa Stilley said in the post.


Email Emma Kennedy at ekennedy@theadvocate.com.