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Tags: los angeles | schools | ransomware | attack | data

Hackers Publish Nearly 250K Files in 'Massive' Data Breach of L.A. Schools

Data protection
Data protection (Emotionart/Dreamstime.com)

By    |   Monday, 03 October 2022 06:22 PM EDT

The Los Angeles Unified School District became the victim of a second cyber attack in less than a month this weekend, when a ransomware gang reportedly published 500 gigabytes of potentially sensitive data involving the schools' students and employees.

On Sunday, district superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho confirmed, via Twitter, that "a criminal organization" released the data set.

Ransomware gang Vice Society has claimed responsibility for the ransomware attack, and apparently leaked the data on its dark web site.

The most recent attack on L.A. Unified's digital infrastructure "appears to be massive," according to Axios.

Researchers at Check Point Software Technologies told Axios that more than 248,000 files containing Social Security numbers, contracts, employment tax forms, invoices, and passports have been stolen, among other data points.

According to TechCrunch, the data trove included health information, including COVID-19 test data, previous conviction reports, and psychological assessments of students.

According to Axios, district and law enforcement officials are still analyzing the "full extent of this data release." They've also created a response hotline to help anyone affected by the data leak.

L.A. Unified comprises more than 1,000 schools and accommodates 600,000 students each academic year, making it the United States' second-largest school district.

According to reports, L.A. Unified was still recovering from last month's "significant disruption" to its digital infrastructure.

Axios also reports that L.A. Unified rejected a ransom demand after last month's initial cyber attack. However, at this time, it's not known if Vice Society played an integral role in that attack.

On Friday, prior to this weekend's attack, Superintendent Carvalho told the Los Angeles Times the district opted not to pay the undisclosed ransom figure, reasoning that payment wouldn't necessarily guarantee the information remaining private.

Ransomware attacks have become common with school systems this year, according to public data; and L.A. Unified could be the largest attack among that group.

Allan Liska, a ransomware analyst at cybersecurity firm Recorded Future, estimates there have been 115 ransomware attacks against schools through September, tracking closely with the number of attacks against schools during the same period last year.

And last month, the FBI, CISA and the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center reportedly warned that Vice Society has been "disproportionately targeting the education sector."

Ransom requests, following the apparent hackings, have also become en vogue.

As Newsmax chronicled last year, a Florida-based group of hackers, going by the alias "ContiLocker Team," demanded $40 million for the return of one terabyte in personal data and files back to the Broward County School District.

© 2022 Newsmax. All rights reserved.


Newsfront
The Los Angeles Unified School District became the victim of a second cyber attack in less than a month this weekend, when a ransomware gang reportedly published 500 gigabytes of potentially sensitive data involving the schools' students and employees.
los angeles, schools, ransomware, attack, data
425
2022-22-03
Monday, 03 October 2022 06:22 PM
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