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Schools Struggling to Stay Open Get Hit by Ransomware Attacks


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Tony Brooks, technology chief of the Athens Independent School District in Texas, a district hit by ransomware.

Schools around the U.S. are fighting a wave of increasingly aggressive ransomware attacks.

Credit: The Wall Street Journal

Schools struggling to stay open during the Covid-19 pandemic are being targeted by ransomware, with hackers threatening to post sensitive student information online.

Some cybersecurity firms say cases involving schools and colleges are surging, as such institutions rely heavily on online learning and technology to operate.

The Wall Street Journal has documented almost three dozen ransomware attacks against school districts since the pandemic's start in March, which is a conservative figure.

Districts often are left to their own devices when dealing with hackers or maintaining system security.

Cybersecurity firm Coveware said average ransom payments across all industries have risen in recent years, to $233,817 in the third quarter of 2020 from $41,198 a year earlier.

From The Wall Street Journal
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