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Ransomware

Ransomware is a type of malware in which hackers access files and encrypt them, demanding payment to restore access. Coverage includes ransomware attacks on cities, states, schools and public utilities, as well as legislative efforts to curb the threat and set policy on how to respond.

The ransomware group Royal sent an extortion letter to Tucson Unified School District earlier this week following a successful cyber attack. Teachers are continuing in-person lessons even as some systems remain offline.
While it has yet to confirm Hive was the group that attacked Norman Public Schools' network in November 2022, the FBI has gained control of the group's operations and said they've targeted over 1,500 victims worldwide.
Nantucket Public Schools canceled classes Tuesday morning and shut down student and staff devices, safety and security systems, including phones and security cameras, after discovering ransomware on its network.
Law enforcement disrupted the digital infrastructure the ransomware group Hive uses to communicate with members, and stole decryption tools that it passed along to victims during a monthslong covert infiltration of the criminal network.
A new report and toolkit aims to help K-12 schools and school districts identify funding and low-cost resources, identify high-priority risk reduction steps and stay informed about emerging cyber threats and risks.  
Maryland’s inspector general partially faulted the Baltimore County school system for a cyber attack on its network in November 2020, because it had neglected to relocate database servers as advised by the state.
Investigators say reconnaissance for the Sept. 3 cyber attack on Los Angeles Unified School District began as early as July 31. Hackers stole data on more than 500 people who worked for district contractors.
The proposed center would provide public entities with cyber solutions, develop the cyber workforce and deliver training and awareness across sectors. Efforts to pass this measure in 2022 ran out of time; a new House bill revives the question.
A newly released report from Connecticut-based IT vendor Datto suggests that only around three out of 100 small- to medium-size businesses hit with ransomware pay cyber criminals to recover their data.
North Texas school districts are eyeing the latest tools and best practices for cybersecurity and trying to learn from the experiences of other districts, but ransomware threats are a continuously moving target.