The Wolcott school system in Wolcott, Connecticut has been recovering for four months from a ransomware attack that hit its system at the end of the school year. Last week, it was hit with a second attack. According to reports, the cyber criminals behind the recent ransomware attack were holding teacher lesson plans hostage. The school system shut down its computer system again and are devoting resources to combat the recent attack. Needless to say, this situation is chaotic for the school system.
Hackers are criminals and will try to victimize any system they can. It is unknown whether this was a random or coordinated attack when the cybercriminals knew the school system was recovering from the previous attack. Was it retaliation for not paying the ransom? Maybe. Was it a random attack that found another vulnerability to get through? Maybe. I don’t know the answer, but the reality is that municipalities and school systems are being targeted like never before, and paying ransom to the criminals is not the answer to the problem. When criminals get paid for their crime, they are incentivized to continue attacking victims. The problem will not be solved by paying the criminals for their crimes.
Municipalities and school systems are targets because of lack of resources. Only when adequate resources are provided to implement basic cyber hygiene, employees are provided education to combat intrusions, and back up programs are implemented will the root of the problem start to be addressed. Taxpayers do not want their local governments to pay ransom to criminals. But taxpayers must be willing to put adequate resources into protecting the information systems of their local governments or we will never be able to combat this cyber epidemic.