School District Pays $10,000 Bitcoin Ransom To Hackers After Cyberattack

A Massachusetts school district is waiting for its computer system to be "unlocked" after it paid a $10,000 Bitcoin r...

Posted: May 1, 2018 12:30 AM
Updated: May 1, 2018 12:30 AM

A Massachusetts school district is waiting for its computer system to be "unlocked" after it paid a $10,000 Bitcoin ransom to hackers following a cyberattack on its system.

And despite the nefarious nature of the school system's lockdown, there is no criminal investigation into the matter because solving this crime is "impossible," said Interim Leominster Police Chief Michael Goldman.

"It's something likely to come from out of the country, (we) can't trace it," Goldman told WBZ-TV's David Robichaud.

The police chief said he wasn't told what types of school district files were locked down. He said this was "straight up decryption" and no data mining. School employees are locked out of their own system.

The school e-mail system is also down, and school employees are using their Gmail accounts as backup to communicate with one another, he said.

Leominster Schools Superintendent Paula Deacon said in a statement that the Bitcoin ransom was paid following the cyberattack, which occurred April 14.

The school district is waiting for its system "to be fully restored," she said.

"The Leominster Public Schools were the victim of a Ransomware cyber attack on Saturday, April 14, 2018," Deacon said. "A lock was placed on our system until a negotiated ransom was agreed upon. We paid through a bitcoin system and are now awaiting to be fully restored."

Bitcoin is "a completely digital money" or cryptocurrency that is powered by its users with no central authority or middlemen, according to Bitcoin.org.

"From a user perspective, Bitcoin is pretty much like cash for the Internet," the site states of the worldwide payment system.

Goldman, the police chief, said Deacon asked him for advice on the matter, and he told her to pay the $10,000 ransom.

Goldman said there were some negotiations between the district and the hackers, and when the school system agreed to pay the ransom they were sent passwords to unlock certain files, as proof that the cyber extortionists could unlock the files.

Goldman said it is "impossible" to track the cyber extortionists down.

In her statement, Deacon thanked local, state and federal authorities for their support.

Huntsville
Few Clouds
76° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 72°
Feels Like: 76°
Florence
Scattered Clouds
79° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 74°
Feels Like: 83°
Fayetteville
Clear
75° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 72°
Feels Like: 75°
Decatur
Clear
79° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 73°
Feels Like: 83°
Scottsboro
Overcast
75° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 73°
Feels Like: 75°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 48588

Reported Deaths: 1042
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson5687161
Mobile4315136
Montgomery4275109
Tuscaloosa238248
Marshall181511
Madison16208
Lee146337
Shelby141424
Morgan11575
Baldwin10399
Walker101825
Elmore97519
Dallas9189
Franklin90616
Etowah83413
DeKalb7905
Chambers64727
Autauga64312
Butler63728
Tallapoosa60669
Russell5890
Unassigned53826
Houston5366
Limestone5251
Lauderdale5146
Cullman4905
Lowndes47922
Pike4525
Colbert4426
St. Clair4402
Escambia4358
Calhoun4035
Coffee3923
Covington38110
Bullock36910
Barbour3622
Jackson3432
Talladega3337
Dale3261
Marengo32011
Hale31722
Wilcox2958
Clarke2876
Sumter28512
Winston2773
Chilton2762
Blount2581
Monroe2442
Pickens2446
Marion24114
Randolph2289
Conecuh2187
Macon2029
Choctaw19912
Bibb1981
Greene1888
Perry1791
Henry1403
Crenshaw1253
Washington1217
Lawrence1130
Cherokee1117
Geneva860
Lamar801
Fayette721
Clay692
Coosa601
Cleburne391
Out of AL00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 55986

Reported Deaths: 685
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Shelby12549208
Davidson12234132
Rutherford323437
Hamilton300736
Sumner172755
Williamson151515
Trousdale15035
Knox13929
Out of TN12307
Wilson106017
Putnam9267
Robertson87511
Bradley8744
Sevier8573
Unassigned8302
Lake6960
Tipton6625
Bledsoe6241
Montgomery6207
Bedford5898
Macon5114
Maury4063
Hamblen3974
Hardeman3744
Fayette3443
Madison3392
Loudon3021
Rhea2930
Blount2723
Dyer2703
McMinn25518
Cheatham2432
Dickson2310
Washington1970
Cumberland1934
Lawrence1926
Anderson1662
Lauderdale1643
Sullivan1592
Jefferson1481
Gibson1471
Monroe1416
Smith1362
Coffee1320
Greene1222
Hardin1197
Obion1172
Cocke1160
Haywood1082
Franklin1013
Marshall1011
Warren1000
Hickman950
Wayne900
Marion874
McNairy841
Lincoln780
Giles771
White773
Carter751
Roane710
DeKalb700
Overton671
Weakley671
Hawkins662
Grundy652
Campbell621
Claiborne590
Henderson560
Unicoi560
Carroll491
Chester480
Grainger480
Polk480
Henry470
Crockett443
Johnson440
Sequatchie420
Cannon410
Humphreys352
Perry350
Meigs340
Jackson330
Morgan291
Fentress250
Stewart250
Decatur240
Scott210
Union190
Clay180
Moore170
Houston160
Benton131
Hancock90
Lewis70
Van Buren70
Pickett60

 

 

Community Events