Authorities have been left stunned after a massive cyber crime cost one public school around $10,000. According to police, the Leominster public school system was targeted by a group of international cybercriminals. The hackers took over the school system’s computers, locked everything down through a ransomware attack and froze all electronic communications between school members.
Police Chief Michael Goldman believes the international criminals most likely got into the school system’s computers through an open port, and he is urging the public to protect themselves electronically. Organizations must assess their vulnerabilities or run the risk of being targeted by these types of thieves.
When the attack originally occurred on April 14, superintendent Paula Deacon contact the Police Chief Goldman. He advised her that there wasn’t much he could do, and the school would need to pay the ransom to recover their data. Officials made the $10,000 transaction through the digital currency bitcoin, but police were unable to trace the currency back to the responsible individuals. The cyberattack has been reported to the FBI.
Police are calling this attack “small-scale”, and they are warning the public that these types of attacks will likely increase. Ransomware attacks have been steadily occurring since the ‘successful’ WannaCry attack of 2017, but the media has been overlooking these incidents because they haven’t been massive enough to be newsworthy.
Incredibly, a ransomware attack hit Atlanta’s computer system in March of this year that shut the entire system down for six days. Baltimore’s 911 dispatch system was also struck by a similar attack. These types of attacks have increased by about 50 percent since last year.
Despite being reported to the FBI, there will be no criminal investigation into the matter. Police Chief Goldman calls cracking these types of cases “impossible”.