A school district in Richmond, Michigan, recently discovered that their computer network had been taken over by a ransomware attack over the holidays. The hackers are now demanding $10,000 in BTC to unlock the computers. According to the school’s IT department, the hackers gained access to the school’s computer system on December 27.

No Plan To Comply With The Computer Hackers 

Once the hack was detected, Richmond Community Schools was forced to postpone the opening date. Luckily for them, the backup server had not been affected by the hack. According to a Facebook post, the hack affected the school district’s copiers, phones, classroom tech, and the heating system. However, the district has made it clear the hackers did not steal any personal information.

Additionally, the school has said they said they would not pay the ransom. Instead, they have contact state and federal law enforcement to deal with the matter. According to the superintendent, this attack could have been much worse. He noted that they do not have a huge IT department and they mainly deal with educational matters. The server should be back up soon.

Ransomware is a Growing Problem

No matter how complex or simple a system is, anyone can be hacked. However, there are steps that one can take to avoid succumbing to these hacks. For instance, when you buy a new device, ensure that you change the default password. Besides that, you must update your software often.

If someone asks you to provide your password over the internet, you are probably going to be scammed. No government agency or company would ever ask you to provide him or her with your personal details. This may sound basic to you, but these days some of the basics around security tend to be forgotten.

Other steps that you can take include using different passwords on different apps that you use in your daily life. Additionally, you should never click on a link or download any file from an untrusted source. If you detect any suspicious activity, you should always make a report to the authorities immediately.

Continued Attacks around the World

This was not the first attack to affect a school. In 201, more than 500 schools succumbed to similar attacks. Besides schools, local councils and schools have also been targeted. The reason for these attacks may be that schools simply do not have a large enough budget to purchase complex tools required to ward off such attacks.

However, it is worth noting that hackers have also targeted large companies. One of the recommendations by the authorities is for anyone who is hacked not to pay the ransom. For one, there is no guarantee that once you pay, they will unlock your system. Additionally, it is important to have a backup of the data. This way, you can simply start over when the hackers take over your systems.

If no one pays these hackers, they will give up and find better uses for their time. The law could also be amended to impose tougher punishments for anyone caught carrying out a ransomware attack.

Image Source: Flickr / Comparitech 

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