Ransomware attack on New York school computers disrupts opening day functions

Cyber security (Representational picture) Reuters

Educational institutes are new favourites of cybercriminals as they are currently targeting schools and universities frequently. On Wednesday, reports revealed that a school in Orange County was attacked by hackers who launched the ransomware attack on the very first day of the school after summer vacation.

Owing to the ransomware attack, the first day of the school was delayed while the Monroe-Woodbury school district was preparing to welcome back its students. The school has sent an email to all parents Tuesday night, September 3, stating that they had experienced a "cybersecurity threat" that impacted its operations.

As reported by NBC, the email sent by school superintendent Elsie Rodriguez, read, "We recognize that for our families this unexpected schedule change may be difficult. The safety and security of our students is always our first priority and we believe this extra time will allow us to better prepare for a smooth first day for our students and staff."

After the ransomware attack, the school has decided to push back the first day of the class to Thursday, September 5.

Why targeting schools?

Experts believe that the schools have drawn the eye of hackers because of their wealth of data and a limited budget for cybersecurity staff and training.

A recent report revealed a record high number of attacks on state and local governments in the US with some 170 attacks since 2013, while 22 of which occurred this year alone.

Lee McKnight, an associate professor at the School of Information Studies at Syracuse University earlier mentioned that school districts are attractive targets because of their relative vulnerability. He also added the main reason is that it's a relatively easy target to aim at.

The threat research group at cloud security firm Armor has also released a list of the victims of Ryuk ransomware that includes, Rockville Center School District in Rockville Center-New York, Mineola Public Schools in Mineola-New York, The Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken-New Jersey, New Haven Public Schools-New Haven, Connecticut, Wallingford School District-Wallingford, Connecticut among others.

Related topics : Ransomware