The Rise of Ransomware Attacks on Public Schools

The Rise of Ransomware Attacks on Public Schools

Businesses and government agencies aren’t the only target for cybercriminals. School is back in session this month, and school districts across the country are also affected by large scale ransomware attacks.

In just the month of July, ransomware attacks have hit multiple states including New Mexico, Nevada, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Alabama, Connecticut, and New York, and while the attacks were spread out throughout the year, their lasting impact is nevertheless a destructive one. 

Cybersecurity firm Recorded Future had published a report confirming that 170 local county, city, and state governments were all victims of targeted ransomware attacks since 2013, with 22 of such attacks happening within this year. It is these cyberattacks that leave a lasting mark on agencies that cannot afford a day offline from their duties. Without proper file backup implementation, recovery times from ransomware attacks can last anywhere between months to a year - much like the city of Baltimore now recovering from a cyberattack that cost an estimated $18 million in revenue losses and recovery costs.

This ransomware epidemic doesn’t just stop at government agencies, as school systems have also proven to be prime targets for cybercriminals. Syracuse University’s associate professor at the School of Information Studies, Lee McKnight, comments on how school districts can become victims of a cyberattack due to their vulnerability in outdated technology use, as well as lack of extensive cybersecurity preparation.  

Often times, recovery at school districts is both taxing and costly. A school district in Lyon County, Nevada, for example, has only recently gotten back online and reimplemented its internet and VoIP-phone lines after experiencing its own cyberattack back in June. Even after paying the ransom to receive a decryption key, some systems still remain locked. The Syracuse school district was also another victim in July, the Onondaga County library computer system locked by Ryuk ransomware, crippling phones and WiFi service at the downtown central library and other city branches. 

McKnight comments on the cyberattacks occurring at the school district level, stating how these attacks are “...not random. It’s a business. It’s an enterprise, or multiple enterprises...There’s a big black market devoted to this.” 

The threat of cyberattacks is consistently growing. With this, experts strongly advise that school districts upgrade older technology and operating systems, train staff on cybersecurity preparedness, and most importantly invest in proper data backup systems. 

Cybercriminals are always looking for ways to do the most damage in order to make the most profit at its victim’s expense. Don’t be the next victim of ransomware. Instead, take proactive action to safeguard your data by using our own storage and ransomware resistant solution reevert™. Reevert™  is an intelligent hybrid backup and storage solution, designed from the ground up specifically to protect businesses, government agencies and municipalities, and school districts against ransomware and data loss. With reliable storage capabilities of hourly data snapshots, physical and virtual server backups within the cloud, and instantaneous data restoration (within seconds), reevert™ users can rest assured knowing all files are properly protected. 

Through patching cyber-vulnerabilities from the start, school districts can help stop ransomware in its tracks.

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