LAUSD Ransomware Attack - 500GB of Data Stolen

Author: Kelley Donald - MarCom/Thursday, April 27, 2023/Categories: Business Internet

 

Recently the second largest school district in America, the Los Angeles Unified School District, suffered a massive attack on its computer systems. Stolen data was taken from the school district and posted on a dark web leak site owned by an illicit crime syndicate Vice Society.

The school system was also left temporarily unable to utilize its systems for educational purposes, and attacks like these are becoming common in the education sector. More details have been released as they are made available, but even with limited information, this event makes it clear how important data security is in the information age.

What is a Ransomware Attack?

A ransomware attack is a cyberattack that encrypts files on a device or network, rendering them unusable. In some cases, the malware used to do this allows the criminals to steal the files to release them to the public or use them as blackmail to convince institutions to pay a ransom.

What was the LAUSD Ransomware Attack?

The LAUSD attack was a cyberattack rendering the entire Los Angeles Unified School District unable to use their computer systems for normal usage. However, it was initially unclear whether or not data had been stolen.

Unfortunately, it appears there has been a data release on a dark web leak site associated with a criminal organization known as Vice Society. They are known for cyberattacks against school districts, so this is no surprise.

Who was Responsible for the LAUSD Ransomware Attack?

An underground criminal organization, Vice Society, has claimed the cyberattack as their own. They've posted over 500 Gigabytes of stolen data to their website on the dark web as a response to the school district declining their ransom demands.

Vice Society implied that if the Department of Homeland Security's Cybersecurity agency, the CISA, hadn't advised the school district against paying ransom, then the criminal organization wouldn't have released the files in an attempt to tarnish CISA's reputation.

It appears Vice Society was previously provoked when the infrastructure security agency warned of them targeting the education sector.

What Kinds of LAUSD Files Were Made Public?

Unfortunately, sensitive data was made available. This includes numerous database entries and even legal and business documentation.

Some of the data stolen from the school district may contain social security numbers and other personal identification information.

Perhaps the worst inclusions were confidential psychological assessments and bank account information. However, officials of the Los Angeles Unified School District believe that the psychological assessments released were part of old data sets.

The School District's Response

The school system supported the school community by ensuring that any persons with personal information impacted are notified, as well as providing credit monitoring services to those who were impacted.

A message from the district reads: "Los Angeles Unified remains firm that dollars must be used to fund students and education. Paying ransom never guarantees the full recovery of data, and Los Angeles Unified believes public dollars are better spent on our students rather than capitulating on a nefarious and illicit crime syndicate. We continue to make progress toward full operational stability for several core information technology services."

As such, the district denied the ransom demands, and instead, district officials are focusing on using public dollars to ensure a full recovery and protect against future data theft attempts.

What Should Businesses Do?

This attack highlights the importance of data security in the modern age, especially for businesses and organizations that handle sensitive information.

There are a number of steps businesses can take to protect themselves against ransomware attacks, such as:

  • Educating employees about phishing scams and other ways attackers can gain access to systems
  • Backing up data regularly and storing backups offline
  • Investing in security solutions like firewalls and intrusion detection systems
  • Keeping software and systems up to date

By taking these precautions, businesses can help protect themselves against ransomware attacks and other cyber threats.

How to Protect Business Data

To assess where your business stands and which solutions you need, work with a Consolidated Communications specialist. Keeping your business data safe is no easy task, and doing it on your own is even more challenging. Luckily, Consolidated Communications offers a one-stop shop when it comes to network and email security. However, that doesn’t end with loss prevention. If a breach occurs, you don’t want to just give up on your business and your customers! A business continuity plan can help you mitigate the losses during a breach and put your business back on track as quickly as possible!

A Business Continuity Plan

Although data security services are very likely to help you protect your data and prevent breaches from occurring in the first place, it’s not the only way you can protect your company.

If your network is breached and data is compromised, you’ll wish you had a plan in place to restore the lost data so the business can continue working. A business continuity plan is the best way to accomplish this.

Consolidated Communications can help support your business continuity plan to protect your data in the event of an attack or other data loss scenario.

This may include creating redundancy for critical systems, backing up and storing that data offsite, or investing in disaster recovery services that allow you to quickly restore systems after a breach occurs.

If you’re looking for reliable, comprehensive solutions for protecting your business data and ensuring business continuity, then contact Consolidated Communications at http://www.consolidated.com/cybersecurity today.

 

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