The Los Angeles Community College District paid a $28,000 ransom in bitcoin last month to hackers who took control of a campus email and computer network until a payment was made.
The “malicious” cyberattack was detected at Los Angeles Valley College on Dec. 30 after a virus locked the campus’ computer network as well as its email and voicemail systems, Chancellor Francisco C. Rodriguez said in a statement.
Attackers gave the school a week to pay the ransom. LACCD announced last Friday, January 6, 2017, that they’ve agreed to pay the ransom demand to quickly recover access to their systems and data.
The District might have had their hand forced by the fact that classes resumed on Tuesday, January 3, with the start of the winter session.
Officials used funds from a cybersecurity insurance policy to pay the ransom. After making the payment, LAVC staffers received a decryption key from the crooks who hijacked the school’s network.
LAVC officials said the decryption key worked as expected and the school’s IT staff is currently slowly unlocking encrypted files and restoring service to computers, one at a time.
The Los Angeles Community College was lucky in the respect that after paying the ransom, a key was delivered which successfully restored access to systems although the process will be a long one.