Los Angeles

Feds Warn of Ransomware Attacks on Nation's Schools

Los Angeles, Mansfield were recent targets of hackers.

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Federal investigators put out a warning late Tuesday to the nation’s school systems after a series of high-profile ransomware attacks on their computer networks.

The most recent publicized incident involved the country’s second-largest school system – the Los Angeles Unified School District. Over the weekend, the district’s IT team recognized an attempted hack on the system and had to quite literally pull the plug to prevent any further data compromise.

“It’s undeniable that, if we had not number one detected this anomaly, and responded by alerting our law enforcement partners, and brought in all the extra police that we have brought on board so quickly, it could have been a catastrophic set of circumstances that we would be facing today,” said Alberto Carvalho, the Superintendent of Los Angeles’ schools.

In a ransomware attack, the perpetrator gains control of data, or even an entire system, and demands a ransom to relinquish control.

The Department of Homeland Security and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency issued a joint alert on Tuesday about an increase in ransomware threats.

“School districts with limited cybersecurity capabilities and constrained resources are often the most vulnerable,” the CISA noted in a news release.

The Mansfield Independent School District was recently targeted in a ransomware attack. Late last month, hackers were able to get control of the district’s system, which forced a shutdown.

It is not clear if the Mansfield ISD paid the hackers to regain control of its system.

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