The massive cyberattack on the Los Angeles Unified School District as the school year started this month has been something of a mystery because of the lack of demands made by the hackers. But now they are demanding ransom, officials said.
“We can confirm that there was a demand made,” LAUSD Superintendent Alberto Carvalho said. “There has been no response to the demand.” He did not announce how much money the hackers are seeking or what data they might have.
The hack, which targets protected data and also attempts to disable the district’s computer systems, was found over Labor Day weekend, three weeks after some 400,000 students returned to classes. It also includes malware that can be triggered to cause further damage if not found and properly deleted.
Students, parents and teachers still have some limited access, but many are getting a message like the one here below. But not all of district’s apps and systems are operational just yet, and the release of five-week report cards has been delayed.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security said at the time that traced the attack to a “ransomware tool that temporarily disabled systems, froze others and had access to some degree of data.”
LAUSD, the country’s second-largest school district, is working with DHS, the FBI and Los Angeles Police Department on the issue. Last week, Carvalho was given rare emergency authority to deal with the crisis, allowing his office to take action “without advertising or inviting bids and for any dollar amount necessary.”