Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Alberto Carvalho said that hackers had released information from the district on the dark web. File Photo by Etienne Laurent/EPA-EFE
Oct. 3 (UPI) -- Ransomware hackers who stole private information from the Los Angeles Unified School district have released the information on the dark web, school officials said in a statement on Sunday.
The release was ahead of the deadline the hackers had set for the district to pay a ransom to keep the information private, but Superintendent Alberto Carvalho said over the weekend that the district would refuse to meet their demands.
"Unfortunately, as expected, data was released by a criminal organization," Carvalho said in a statement on Twitter. "In partnership with law enforcement, our experts are analyzing the full extent of this data release."
The school district has set up a hotline for community residents who have questions about the breach and additional support.
Carvalho said the district decided not to pay the ransom as there was no guarantee that all the information would be returned and that it would only encourage other ransomware efforts.
"Paying ransom never guarantees the full recovery of data, and Los Angeles Unified believes public dollars are better spent on our students rather than capitulating to a nefarious and illicit crime syndicate," the district said Friday, according to KTLA-TV.
Ransomware attacks are becoming more common. In January, a ransomware extortion attack in Albuquerque caused schools to close for two days. Ransomware cost U.S. victims an estimated $1.4 billion in 2020.
The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has issued a warning to other large school districts about the threat of ransomware attacks following the Los Angeles school hacking.
Thousands of education and technology leaders have requested that the Federal Communications Commission authorize the permanent use of existing E-Rate Program funds to "bolster and maintain IT security infrastructure."