Education Hit Hard by Ransomware

IT systems of the second largest school district in the U.S. were hit over the weekend by a ransomware attack. Los Angeles Unified (LAUSD) is composed of Los Angeles, 31 smaller municipalities, and other unincorporated sections of Los Angeles County, enrolling over 640,000 students.

LAUSD is working together with the FBI, CISA and other law enforcement officials to launch an investigation and incident response. In a statement to the public, the school district did not believe that the attack would stop them from providing services, but did expect a number of delays and modifications. One can only imagine the difficulty of restoring the servers and continuing services without access to certain information.

Earlier this year, a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report found the Departments of Education and of Homeland Security to be sorely lacking in their cyber risk management and out of date, focusing primarily on mitigating physical threats. Over 1000 educational institutions were hit with ransomware attacks in 2021.

FBI, CISA, and MS-ISAC released a warning today that the Vice Society ransomware group is disproportionately attacking the educational sector, with further incidents expected after the start of the new school year. The joint advisory recommends familiarizing yourself with Vice Society indicators of compromise (IOCs) and MITRE ATT&CK’s tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) observed recently by the FBI. 

Further recommendations expanded upon in the advisory include:

  • Preparing for Cyber Incidents 
  • Identity and Access Management
  • Protective Controls and Architecture
  • Vulnerability and Configuration Management

For more information about how to manage Cybersecurity Risks and secure your organization, visit www.centraleyes.com

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