Beware: #hackers are #targeting schools and colleges

Certain schools in the US are receiving threatening messages from hackers in exchange of destroying stolen data.

In the latest incident involving the matter of cybersecurity, CNN Tech has reported that hackers are now trying to use personal details of students and teachers, and using them to gain ransom. The incident has taken place in Montana school district along with several other areas in the United States.

Superintendent Steve Bradshaw reported the matter to the police after he received threatening text messages on his cell phone. “The messages weren’t pleasant messages,” Bradshaw said. “They were ‘splatter kids’ blood in the hallways,’ and things like that.” The issue seems to be a serious one as the US Department of Education has issued a warning to parents, teachers and students about a severe cyber threat looming over the schools of the country.

Hackers have started targeting schools in a bid to ask for a ransom and are resorting to all sorts of ways to get their demands met. They are stealing student and staff records from the computer database and then using it to send threatening messages to people. When receiving any sort of request, they are sending out demands for ransom in exchange of the stolen data.

In a ransom note sent to a number of Columbia Falls school district members, the hacking group called the ‘Dark Overlord’ demanded up to $150,000 in bitcoin to destroy the stolen private data. The ransom note also contained several violent phrases to threaten the people; some parts of it mentioning threats of bullying, shaming or even violence.

‘Dark Overlord’ is a group of hackers who already tried and were successful in hacking Netflix’s production studio servers a while ago. There’s no mention as to why the group has suddenly taken to hacking school databases and threatening students as well as staff. It could be that they take the school crowd to be easily exploitable instead of financial institutions.

While the US authorities are on the issue and will protect the concerned schools from the attack, it also gives us an example to protect school databases in our country. Data security in most Indian schools and colleges are taken lightly, with no major security firewall built in. If there’s anything Indian authorities have learnt from the WannaCry attack earlier this year, then it’s about time to implement them for a secure computing environment.