Los Angeles School District Targeted In Cyberattack
Hacker attacking internet
Seksan Mongkhonkhamsao/Getty Images

One of the nation’s largest school districts has been targeted in a cyberattack.

The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) released a statement on Tuesday revealing the recent ransomware attack on its technology systems.

“Los Angeles Unified detected unusual activity in its Information Technology systems over the weekend, which after initial review, can be confirmed as an external cyber attack on our Information Technology assets,” the LAUSD’s statement read.

“Since the identification of the incident, which is likely criminal in nature, we continue to assess the situation with law enforcement agencies. While the investigation continues, Los Angeles Unified has swiftly implemented a response protocol to mitigate Districtwide disruptions, including access to email, computer systems and applications,” it added.

The school district emphasized classes would continue on Tuesday. Backup mechanisms were put into place to ensure a safe school environment if network issues continue.

LAUSD also noted that the White House, Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, and the Education Department were investigating the weekend’s ransomware effort.

In addition to posting an update on its Twitter account and other social media platforms, the school district shared a post notifying all students and employees of the requirement to change passwords on LAUSD accounts.

The post noted that delays may occur due to high demand on the system.

The LAUSD first reported districtwide technical issues on Monday due to “an external source.” Users of the website were met with a pop-up message notifying them of an outage.

The nation’s second-largest school district serves more than 600,000 students at more than 1,000 schools. LAUSD also operates more than 200 independently operated public charter schools, Variety reported. The district’s boundaries “stretch across 720 square miles and include the City of Los Angeles as well as all or parts of 31 municipalities and several unincorporated regions of Southern California.”

The school system is not alone in facing cyberattacks. A January report revealed that California ranked the highest among states in the nation for ransomware attacks. Nationwide, ransomware attacks on U.S. schools and colleges cost an estimated $3.56 billion in 2021.

Nationally, the U.S. continues to address the threat of cyberattacks. Last month, Sen. Angus King (I-ME) and Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI) sent a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to urge better protection for the healthcare sector from attacks on threats on technology systems.

“With cyber threats growing exponentially, we must prioritize addressing the [health care and public health] sector’s cybersecurity gaps,” the two lawmakers wrote.

Ransomware attacks on the sector have skyrocketed in the past two years as opportunistic criminals recognized that hospitals may pay quickly to resolve issues and protect patient safety,” it added.

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