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Community College Pays Hacker $28,000 for Ransomware Attack

Last month, Los Angeles Valley College (LAVC) was hit with a ransomware attack, forcing the California Community College system to pay an unidentified hacker nearly $28,000 to retrieve stolen data. The investigation is still in the early stages, and as of now no breach data was identified.

LAVC consulted with its leadership, outside cybersecurity experts and law enforcement before making the payment. “It was the assessment of our outside cybersecurity experts that making a payment would offer an extremely high probability of restoring access to the affected systems, while failure to pay would virtually guarantee that data would be lost,” according to a statement. The attack has disrupted many computer, online, e-mail and voicemail systems.

The United States Department of Justice estimates that approximately 4,000 ransomware attacks occurred every day in the U.S. in 2016. Education is the sector most targeted by ransomware, according to a recent report from security analyst BitSight, which found that 13 percent of institutions experienced ransomware attacks last year.

A PDF explaining what happened at LAVC in more detail is available here.

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