The Johannesburg-Lewiston Area Schools (JLAS) succumbed to a cyberthreat as Katy Xenakis-Makowski—the school’s superintendent realized that they were hit by the latest ransomware threat. A ransom demand soon followed for ransomware removal.
The school disclosed the attack through a public statement. The statement revealed that the management has acquired the services of cybersecurity experts for thorough investigation of the attack.
Luckily for the school group, its insurance coverage proved beneficial in adversity and they were able to easily pay the ransom demand with a deductible. The attack was a difficult scenario for Xenakis-Makowski; she was not aware about the cyberthreat’s modus operandi and its possibility to hit the school.
She explained that such attacks lock the files stored in their victims’ devices where data is neither copied nor read; it is only made inaccessible. So this means that if any of the server or computer is corrupted by a ransomware, then all of its files are locked.
Earlier, Xenakis-Makowski was briefed by the school’s IT consultant that the systems encountered an irregularity which locked the files of their systems. She believes that nowadays viruses succeed because of their repeated attempts at guessing commonly-used passwords after which those attempts are ultimately fruitful at last.
The extensive investigation that followed after the attack identified the digital trail of the attackers to a German location where the attackers mainly distributed their ransomware across four different countries; one such instance of attack infiltrated the systems of J-L Area Schools.
However, Xenakis-Makowski is still puzzled about how the attack actually entered their premises. She said, “Somehow someone was able to hack into a server and encrypt files.”
She was advised to contact the FBI. However, she was pessimistic that authorities may not take the attack seriously because of the schools’ smaller status.