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Broward schools refuses to pay hackers, private data goes online

Ransomware gang targets Broward County Public Schools, source says
Ransomware gang targets Broward County Public Schools, source says

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Hackers who sought $40 million in ransom from the Broward County Public School District, which refused to pay, have now published nearly 26,000 stolen files.

The South Florida SunSentinel reports many of the files contain Broward School District accounting and financial records.

That includes invoices, purchase orders, and travel and reimbursement forms.

So far the files examined by the newspaper haven’t contained Social Security numbers.

The international malware group Conti posted the files Monday after the district announced March 31 it had no intention of paying a ransom.

Officials say they’re analyzing the posted content to determine what further action is needed.

In a letter sent several weeks ago to employees, a BCPS representative wrote that the service disruption experienced in early March was caused “by unauthorized activity on their computer network.” BCPS also alleged that their core functions were not impacted.

“We have no intention of paying any ransom,” the letter to employees said. “Our investigation is ongoing, and we have no evidence that any individuals’ personal information has been accessed or removed from our network or compromised in any way.”

The FBI does not support paying a ransom in response to ransomware gang attacks because paying it doesn’t guarantee an organization will get any data back and it perpetuates the incentive.


About the Author:

Amanda Batchelor is the managing editor for Local10.com.