School-targeted Ransomware Attacks: Cyber Attack Roundup
School-targeted Ransomware Attacks on the Rise
School-targeted ransomware attacks can mean pricey trouble for organizations ill-equipped in cybersecurity. Hackers are demanding larger sums of money in return for stolen data and hijacked networks. School districts are one of their most popular targets to bleed. This third installment in the Cyber Attack Roundup series zeroes in on the growing trend of cyber criminals holding school districts up for money.
Cyber Attack Roundup: School Edition
All it took was previewing one email for the Australian National University’s network to fall victim to hackers in an attack referred to as “shocking in its sophistication.” Let that sink in. Not a malicious link click, not a downloaded file, not even an email open. An email preview.
Ransomware Attacks the Preferred Method for School Hackers
- The computer system of Cherry Hill School District in New Jersey suffered for several days as a result of what might be an attack from a particularly notorious form of Russian-based ransomware known as Ryuk.
- The FBI released a PSA warning of the growing costs of ransomware attacks. This may be a direct result of a rising number of “big game hunters” looking to quickly make large sums of money at the expense of vulnerable organizations. Guess who’s in that number too often? School districts.
- A recent study found that there have been more than 600 costly ransomware attacks against U.S. organizations this year alone. Local governments, hospitals, and schools have suffered closures at the hands of cybercriminals demanding money. Experts predict that the frequency of attacks will only get worse.
- Rockford School District is still recovering weeks after being hit by a devastating ransomware attack, and it’s not the only entity to fall victim to greedy hackers. “It’s an issue to be taken very seriously. This is a national trend.”
- Schools in Smyth County, Virginia, are recovering after a ransomware attack in September after the district refused to pay “big dollars” to the culprits. With part of their network in the hands of cyber thieves, the schools needed to rely on cloud-based systems and backups to get up and running again.
- A new report indicates that K-12 schools are ransomware attackers’ second favorite victim. Tech-savvy students who circumvent their school’s network security to play free games might be providing malicious hackers just the opening they need to invade a school’s system.
Cybercriminals looking for quick money make easy prey of schools, but schools don’t have to play that role. With services like CyberReef Solution’s Kids Internet Defense Shield, it’s possible to thwart hackers before they infiltrate school networks and seize precious data. And along the way, protect students with CIPA filtering, which provides a double benefit: protecting students from inappropriate content, and protecting schools from the malicious sites that students may visit in an unfiltered environment.