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Since the beginning of the week, Victor Central School District has been shut down after falling victim to a ransomware attack. No personal or financial information from students was affected, only the district’s servers.

Information sent out to parents explained that the attackers were holding files on the district’s server hostage and asking for ransom. Student and staff data, grades, and email were not impacted, and neither were chromebooks used for remote learning.

Ransomware is a type of malware attack, typically involving social engineering, that hackers use to gain control and acquire money from a business or organization. Typically, a bad actor will demand a lump sum of money for an organization’s own encrypted data, and will not give in until that ransom is paid.

Cybersecurity attacks like these can happen everywhere, and with distance learning still in effect due to the pandemic, many school districts across the country have seen a rise in cyber attacks. In this instance, both the FBI and Department of Homeland Security are working together with the Victor school district in an ongoing investigation.

While this type of malware attack is common, many organizations don’t see the risk to their business right around the corner. The biggest thing to know if you’re a victim of a ransomware attack is to never, under any circumstances, pay the ransom. This not only encourages a malicious entity to commit more cyber attacks, but it also doesn’t guarantee your files will be decrypted.

In general, most companies need a few different layers of protection in place to lower their risk of an attack, and to alert them to an incoming issue. Having 24/7 monitoring services that alert you to a change in your network, along with anti-virus protection, can be great ways to notify you of a situation before it becomes a problem.

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