The information technology systems of Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) in California, the second largest school district in the United States, were targeted by a ransomware attack over Labor Day weekend, the school system announced Monday.
All information systems were up and running within the initial two hours of the school day, and student meal services and bus transportation resumed without issue, the district said.
In a ransomware attack, hackers block a victim’s access to computer systems and data or threaten to publish stolen information. The hacker will then demand a ransom fee from the victim to resolve the issue.
“The impact of this incident could have been catastrophic if our teams and partners had not responded quickly and decisively, cut off the hacker's access immediately, and worked expeditiously to restore operational capacity,” Carvalho said.
The matter is being investigated by local law enforcement, the Department of Education, the FBI, and the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.
Cyber AttacksThe United States has been seeing more cyber attacks on its critical infrastructure in recent years, including educational institutions.
Congress has passed several bills in response to the recent uptick in cyber attacks, and in March of this year, President Joe Biden signed into law the Strengthening American Cybersecurity Act of 2022, aimed at protecting the critical infrastructure of the United States.