School’s out – thanks to some hackers

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Empty classroomStudents in Flathead Valley, Montana recently found themselves with an unscheduled long weekend vacation, due to a cyber attack on the district’s education community by a hacking group calling itself TheDarkOverlord. The attackers are believed to have harvested sensitive information on past and present pupils, parents and staff at thirty schools in the area. The victims were then peppered with threatening, if rather facetious, messages and Bitcoin ransom demands.

The attackers, who have a track record in targeting US entertainment and healthcare companies, are also notorious for releasing data even after their ransoms have been paid. Investigators suspect that the hacker or hackers may be of UK origin – that lofty speak clearly giving them away…

Despite the attackers’ cartoonish antics, the data breach and subsequent disruption to the education of 15,000 children is all too real. The local police have been quick to play down the genuine severity of the threat and claim they are closing in on the perpetrators. Small consolation to the parents of those children affected, as the hacker/s claim to be in possession of highly personal data, including medical information.