School Districts in Multiple States Hit by Ransomware Attacks

K-12 schools and colleges in several states, including Maine, Indiana, and Georgia, have recently been targeted by ransomware attacks, leading to outages and data leaks. This is a continuation of a trend that has seen educational institutions across the nation impacted throughout the year.

Henry County Schools, a district serving over 44,000 students in Georgia, discovered suspicious activity on its network in early November. With the help of law enforcement, emergency management, and cybersecurity specialists, the district determined that an unauthorized user had gained access to parts of its network. While some important student and employee systems were not breached, the hackers accessed a file storage area containing historical procedural documents.

Despite the incident, the district has been working diligently to restore services and applications. Grade reporting tools and planning resources have been restored, and end-of-semester testing has resumed with minor changes. Students were also able to access Chromebooks again last week.

However, the school district is not the only victim of these attacks. Hermon School Department in Maine was also attacked by ransomware actors in early November, and Taylor University in Indiana recently notified students, alumni, and employees of a ransomware attack that took place in May.

Cybersecurity experts believe that these attacks are part of a surge in ransomware activity targeting educational institutions as the holiday season approaches. They urge schools to take steps to protect their networks, such as updating their software and keeping backups of their data.

This incident highlights the growing threat of ransomware attacks against schools and universities. Educational institutions need to be vigilant in protecting their data and systems, and they should have a plan in place to respond to cyberattacks.

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