Broward County Public Schools in US Hit by Ransomware Attack. The computer program in one of the largest school districts was hacked by a criminal gang who hacked into the district’s information and demanded $ 40 million (approximately Rs. 293 crores) in fines or deleted files and sent personal and student information online.
Public schools in Broward County said in a statement Thursday that there was no indication that any personal information had been stolen and that it was not being paid to the ransomware team, which last week’s crackdown posted its online and regional chats on its website on the black web.
The Fort Lauderdale-based district said it was working with cyber security experts “to investigate the incident and repair the affected systems. Efforts to recover all plans are ongoing and well underway. We have no intention of paying a fine.” The district did so, two weeks after returning and promising to pay $ 500,000 (), during which the rescued criminals simply ended the negotiations, according to the hijackers’ screen.
The region declined to comment further without comment. With 271,000 students, Broward is the sixth largest nation with an annual budget of about $ 4 billion (approximately 23,900) – a fact that hijackers have been returning to as they demanded $ 40 million (approximately Rs. 293 crores), which must be paid digitally. of money. The ransomware caused a temporary shutdown of the regional computer system in early March, but classes were not disrupted.
“This could be your money,” the Conti gang said at the start of its talks with the district official, whose name did not appear on the screens and has not been disclosed. Its data lock malware is one of the top ten types of malware.
“This is a public school district,” replied Broward’s spokeswoman. “You don’t think we have anything close to this!” It is not yet clear who will represent the district employee or, as is often the case, the person negotiating the fine.
The FBI has often investigated such attacks but said on Thursday it could not confirm whether it was investigating.
The ransomware epidemic has plagued government agencies, businesses, and individuals over the past three years. Most Russian-speaking gangs are based in Eastern Europe and enjoy a safe haven from tolerant governments. Extremely sophisticated groups target their goals in advance, infect networks through crime of sensitive information or other means, and often steal data as they plant malware encrypting the victim’s network.
After the ransomware is activated, criminals demand money to unlock the malware and stop sending – or selling – stolen data. In the case of companies, that data can be trade secrets. In the case of merchants or government agencies, it could be Social Security, bank account numbers, and birthdays. Conti says he stole Broward Social Security program numbers, birthdays, and other student and staff information.
Public school districts have been the victims of ransom attacks. Baltimore County, Maryland Districts; Fairfax County, Virginia; Hartford, Connecticut; and at Fort Worth, Texas, were among those beaten last year. Elementary, middle and high schools have become the focus of recent months, according to the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. In December, it was reported that K-12 schools received 57 percent of all reports reported in August and September compared to 28 percent from January to July.
In total, the ransomware attack disrupted schooling at 1,681 schools, colleges and universities by 2020 and at least 544 so far this year, said analyst Brett Callow at Emsisoft, a cyber security company. Seven districts were published with personal information.
Many drug cases go unreported due to debt and discrimination attached to victims. Cybersecurity firms with good data on ransoms are paid for in part because conversations between victims and hackers take place on black websites that researchers read about stolen malware samples where criminals often leave notes of malware with instructions and demands. The whole small business industry has emerged to help victims manage emergencies.
The ransom price paid for hacking is almost three times that from $ 115,000 (approximately Rs. 84 lakhs) in 2019 to $ 312,000 (approximately Rs. 2.2 crores) by 2020, according to security company cyber Palo Alto Networks. It said the maximum ransom paid by the organization doubled last year to $ 10 million (approximately Rs. 73 crores), from $ 5 million (approximately Rs. 36.6 crores) in 2019.
In Conti and Broward’s negotiations, after being demanded by the $ 40 billion (about $ 293 billion) group, he said he was willing to negotiate: it would receive $ 15 million (approximately Rs. 109 crores) from Bitcoin but had to be brought in within Hours -24. Otherwise, it would load the personal information it claims to contain and lock the computer system permanently. Conti said legal claims against the district for the loss of information would exceed $ 50 million (approximately Rs. 366 crores), so it should consider its acquisition as a provision.
“Pay $ 15M (about Rs. 109 crores) and you guys are guaranteed to solve your problem,” Conti told the district.
The district insisted that we could not afford it and, however, did not have access to Bitcoin. Criminal gangs in Rhlengware want to be paid with cyber money because it can be hard to follow.
Conti has raised the issue by suggesting that he has obtained damaging information about the unnamed royal family from Broward’s database – allegations that his regional interviewer found it absurd.
“What do you mean by the royal family … we are a state school district,” replied the interlocutor.
Negotiations continued for two weeks, with Conti eventually reducing their demand to $ 10 million (approximately Rs. 73 crores). The district has made its $ 500,000 protest (approximately Rs. 3.6 crores). This is the last screen sent.
“The conversations are amazing,” said Callow, an Emsisoft analyst. “Conti employees have fraudulent information.