Hackers Release Stolen Info After LAUSD Refuses to Pay Ransom

More and more school districts and colleges are getting shaken down by ransomware attacks in the last year alone

Hackers released data from the Los Angeles Unified School District on Saturday, one day after Superintendent Alberto Carvalho said he would not negotiate with or pay a ransom to the criminal ring.

The data was released Sunday, two days earlier than a previously stated deadline, by a group calling themselves Vice Society. The early release as apparently in response to Carvalho’s unwillingness to pay off the shakedown artists.

“What I can tell you is that the demand—any demand—would be absurd,” Carvalho told the Los Angeles Times. “But this level of demand was, quite frankly, insulting. And we’re not about to enter into negotiations with that type of entity.”

The next day, Carvalho said in a statement via ABC7, “Unfortunately, as expected, data was recently released by a criminal organization. In partnership with law enforcement, our experts are analyzing the full extent of this data release.”

While authorities are still evaluating the extent of the breach, Carvalho said he doesn’t believe that confidential employee information was stolen. However, some W-9s do appear to have been taken.

Carvalho has declined to reveal the amount of the ransom that was demanded.

What happened with the LAUSD is not rare. Just this year, hackers have shaken down  at least 27 U.S. school districts and 28 colleges, according to Brett Callow, a threat analyst for the digital security firm Emsisoft.

A hotline has been set up for those from the school communities who may have been affected at (855) 926-1129, open from 6 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

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