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LAUSD Targeted in Ransomware Attack That Led to ‘Significant Disruption'

Classes are resuming as scheduled Tuesday after the Los Angeles Unified School District was the target of a ransomware attack on its information technology systems over the holiday weekend.

The district contacted federal officials over the weekend, prompting the White House to mobilize a response from the U.S. Department of Education, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, according to the LAUSD.

District officials described the incident as “likely criminal in nature.”

“Los Angeles Unified detected unusual activity in its Information Technology systems over the weekend, which after initial review, can be confirmed as an external cyber attack on our Information Technology assets,” the district said in a statement. “Since the identification of the incident, which is likely criminal in nature, we continue to assess the situation with law enforcement agencies. While the investigation continues, Los Angeles Unified has swiftly implemented a response protocol to mitigate Districtwide disruptions, including access to email, computer systems and applications. This communication is being published after extensive, required vetting and approval by a number of entities and agencies.”

Schools will open as scheduled Tuesday despite what the LAUSD described as a “significant disruption” to its system infrastructure.

The attack temporarily interfered with the LAUSD website and email system. But officials said employee health care and payroll were not impacted, nor did the cyber incident impact safety and emergency mechanisms in place at schools.

They added that some food or Beyond the Bell services and business operations may be delayed or modified.

Officials said they immediately established a plan of action to provide protection in the future, which includes elements listed here.

LAUSD Superintendent Alberto Carvalho was expected to provide more information about the attack at a press briefing late Tuesday morning at Edward R. Roybal Learning Center.

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Source: NBC Los Angeles

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