Apr 1, 2021 - Technology

Sixth largest U.S. school district targeted by ransomware attack

A fleet of Broward County school buses in a parking lot in July 2020 in Pembroke Pines, Florida.

A fleet of Broward County school buses in a parking lot in July 2020 in Pembroke Pines, Florida. Photo: Johnny Louis/Getty Images

Broward County Public Schools, the sixth largest school district in the United States, said Thursday it had been the target of a massive ransomware attack, according to AP.

Why it matters: In March, hackers encrypted some of the Fort Lauderdale-based district's data and demanded a $40 million cryptocurrency payment or they would erase the files and publish the personal information of students and employees online.

What they're saying: Broward said Thursday it made no extortion payment and that no personal information had been published online, according to AP.

  • The district added that it is working with cybersecurity experts to shore up its computer systems and restore affected systems.

The big pictures: Screenshots of negotiations between Broward County Public Schools and the hackers show that at one point the school district offered $500,000 to restore the data, according to WPTV, an NBC-affiliated television station.

  • The attack briefly shutdown the district’s computer system in early March, but classes were not disrupted.
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