Hackers target school threatening to release personal data unless $100k ransom paid
Schools have been targeted by hackers who are threatening to release sensitive information unless a ransom is paid.
Bishop Luffa School and Rumboldswhyke School’s computer systems were first hit by the virus last Thursday and specialist cyber teams from Surrey Police and Sussex Police are investigating.
The hacker group is said to have demanded $100,000 from the Chichester schools.
The computer systems at both schools are still down and a message onBishop Luffa's website states: "The school systems are currently down. We are unable to access emails or phone lines. Our apologies for any inconvenience caused."
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Austen Hindman, head teacher of Bishop Luffa School, said the schools will not cow to “bullying”.
“Bishop Luffa School has been the victim of a ransomware attack,” he said.
“The virus has shut our computer system down and the hackers are threatening to release files held on our servers.
“We use cloud-based systems to store personal data, safeguarding information and most student work. As far as we are aware, cloud-based systems are unaffected by the attack.
“The files on our server will, however, contain some personal details about staff, students and parents. As a school we do not have the financial means to pay a ransom. Even if we did, it would be a poor lesson to our students if we gave in to bullying.
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“It is hard to understand why someone would choose to steal from and vandalise a school and use information about children for financial gain.
“The Bishop Luffa community has been amazing in its support. We have been inundated with offers of help and with personal experiences of attacks like this that we can learn from.
“I would like to thank everyone who is praying for us at this time.
“Rumboldswhyke School is also affected by the attack, although more of their data is stored on cloud/based systems and so hopefully unaffected.
“We would like to thank West Sussex Police for the support that they are giving us at this time.”
A Sussex Police spokesman said: “Sussex Police received reports of two schools in Chichester being targeted by ransomware attacks on Thursday.
“An investigation is ongoing, led by Surrey and Sussex’s specialist Cyber Crime Team, to establish the scale of the attack and identify any perpetrators.
“The force remain in contact with both affected schools.”