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Ransomware pounces on California schools, Las Vegas trounces attack – Naked Security


We’ve got some bad ransomware news, and we’ve got some good, cyberattack-THWARTED! news.

First, the bad: over the holiday break, crooks who are so morally bankrupt that they target the organizations that serve children pounced on schools in the US city of Pittsburg, California.

On Monday, the superintendent of Pittsburg Unified School District, Janet Schulze, put up a message about the ransomware attack on the district’s Facebook page.

She said that any and all affected and potentially affected servers had been taken offline, leaving the district’s school system without email or internet access. Phones were working, though, and the plan was to forge ahead and open school on Tuesday.

Twenty-eight minutes later, Schulze put up an update, saying that the show would indeed go on, but old-school style: sans laptops, sans internet.

We are all set for school tomorrow! We will be teaching and learning like ‘back in the day’🙂…without laptops and internet. Our schools have access to student information and our phones are working. We still are not able to receive email, so please call your child’s school if needed.

As of Monday, the district was working with two external IT firms and attorneys who, Schulze said, are all specialists in this kind of e-misery. She also said that the district had notified law enforcement and that the investigation and repair work were still underway.

The cybersecurity teams that are helping the school system to get back on its feet hadn’t detected any compromise of personal data as of Monday.

Cut off from the internet and email, the district’s secondary schools were given an extension – until Monday 13 January – to enter first-semester grades into the grading system. A slice of good news: the cafeteria wasn’t affected and could therefore be counted on to dish up meals for the hungry students.

Schulze didn’t give any indication as to what ransom the crooks are demanding, nor whether or not the district plans to fork anything over.

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