Just a few years ago, ransomware probably didn’t rank very high on a list of things parents regularly talked about. But the odds are getting higher that if you ask a parent about it now, they’ll have plenty to say.
Fourteen percent of parents of school-age children in the U.S. responded to a recent survey saying that they had experienced a ransomware attack on their kids’ school. That number was just 9 percent a year ago. The rate of attacks appears to be growing, with a higher percentage of parents saying it happened last summer or this school year, compared to those who experienced it the year before.
Criminals attacked school districts in Tucson, Arizona, and Nantucket, Massachusetts, in late January, cancelling classes for one district and sending administrators to work from home at the other. The attacks marked the fourth and fifth publicly-disclosed incidents in January alone, although survey data indicates that schools may be getting targeted at a higher rate than that, and some incidents may simply not be getting disclosed.
A growing number of victimized schools end up paying a ransom to remedy the situation, and those payments look to be getting much higher. But before diving into those numbers, let’s consider some of the unseen damage of these attacks.
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