#1275924: Hackers target Wakulla Schools, shut down district-wide emails in ransomware attack

Description: Hackers are holding the Wakulla County School District computers hostage.

Tuesday morning, the district announced it was “experiencing a disruption” in its information systems due to ransomware, and can no longer communicate via email.

Officials say the attack began last week and that state and federal law enforcement have been notified.

“After discovering the attack, we immediately launched an investigation with the assistance of a leading forensic firm, and we have been working diligently to secure our systems and bring them back online,” the district posted on its Facebook page.

These attacks are called "ransomware" because they make the victim’s data inaccessible until a ransom is paid – usually in the form of cyber cryptocurrency. Then the hackers send a code the victim can use to regain access to its own files.

Wakulla County Schools is the latest government entity to be targeted by hackers.

Earlier this year, Lake City paid out a half million dollars to regain access to its computers. Last week, New York’s Rockville Centre School District paid a $88,000 ransom after hackers disrupted the start of the school year.

Twenty-two cities in Texas report their IT systems have been held hostage, forcing their police departments to resort to hand-written notes.

Calls to Wakulla officials were not immediately returned. The district did not say on Facebook what, if any, ransom has been demanded.

Experts say most ransomware attacks are on small businesses and seek about $116,000 for the key to unlock the data. The suspects are often overseas, and it is nearly impossible to locate them.

In April in a different kind of hacker attack, almost half a million dollars was diverted out of the city of Tallahassee’s employee payroll Wednesday after a suspected foreign entity targeted its human resources management application.
More info: https://www.tallahassee.com/story/news/politics/2019/09/10/hackers-attack-wakulla-schools-shuts-down-district-wide-emails/2275809001/

Date added Sept. 11, 2019, 2:33 p.m.
Source Tallahassee
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