Ransomware attack on Finalsite shuts down numerous Universities and Schools in US

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A ransomware attack on FinalSite, a SaaS service provider to multiple universities and K-12 school districts in United States disrupted access to websites and digital services related to many educational institutions.

Finalsite has apologized for the digital shutdown that could have affected more than 5K out of 8K schools operating in America (mainly those operating in Missouri, Kansas, Illinois, and Minnesota) and multiple Universities across 110 various countries.

So, all those school districts that were hosting their web portals on the servers of the web development company were inaccessible to students, parents, and staff since Tuesday this week- January 6th,2022.

To the uninformed, ransomware is a kind of malware where the hackers steal data and encrypt the database until a ransom is paid; leading to double extortion tactics later.

Website designing company FinalSite stated its staff is working 24×7 to recover its data assets as soon as possible and will be give a detailed update as soon as the primary level investigation gets concluded. And the name of the group that launched the file encrypting malware attack will be revealed as soon as the investigation gets over.

Note 1- According to a study conducted by security firm Emsisoft in 2020, 84 incidents affected online learning classes of school pupil studying in over 1680 schools in America.

Note 2- FBI in association with CISA is urging ransomware victims not to pay any ransom to hackers as it not only encourages cyber crime but also doesn’t guaranty a decryption key for the cryptocurrency payment as ransom and there is a high probability that the hackers can target the victim multiple times thereafter.

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Naveen Goud is a writer at Cybersecurity Insiders covering topics such as Mergers & Acquisitions, Startups, Cyber Attacks, Cloud Security and Mobile Security