According to cybersecurity company Armor, ransomware attacks on more than 500 schools have occurred in 2019. Another report, by antivirus maker Emsisoft, identified 62 ransomware attacks impacting more then 1,000 schools and higher education institutions. K-12 Cybersecurity Resource Center only reported 11 ransomware-specific attacks in all of 2018.
District Administration reports schools systems closing anywhere from a few days to over a month due to hackers. School officials have differed on their responses with some district officials paying over $100,000 to have hackers release the computers and others opting to wipe the servers and re-install software and operating systems.
A ransomware response plan should include isolating infected computers, alerting other users, securing backup systems and notifying law enforcement, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. Afterward, all user and network passwords should be changed.