As we are approaching the end of November, people are all excited for the upcoming Thanksgiving break. However, a New Jersey school district had received an unwelcomed “gift”. On November 21st, 2019, the Livingston public school district in New Jersey was attacked by ransomware. This attack took the New Jersey school district more than 4 days to recover and led to 2 hours delayed opening on November 25th, 2019. Due to the breakdown of the servers, law enforcement and an outside security company had involved in assessing the systems, investigating the attack, and analyzing the situation. However, the important questions such as what type of ransomware it is and how the attackers got into their systems are yet to be answered.
According to the statement made on November 24th, the school’s services are recovered rapidly and stay running sufficiently, but their normal phone system and Genesis Parent Access Portal were still waiting for recovering. The school district claimed that the data had not been stolen by attackers but they only make the systems unavailable in the emails they sent to families:
“Based upon what they found, we can now confirm that our servers were hacked by an outside entity and infected with Ransomware, which is designed to encrypt data. We are confident that this entity is NOT associated with the Livingston Community or the Livingston Public Schools.”
However, there is the other ransomware attack happening in Allied Universal recently, and the operator of that ransomware attack released 10% of the data they stole from Allied Universal as they refused to pay the ransom. If Allied Universal still refuses to make the increased ransom payment, the rest of the data will be released soon. Therefore, the Livingston school district should be careful about if their data had been protected from this ransomware successfully.
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