LAUSD hack: Criminal group releases sensitive data after district refuses to pay ransom

LOS ANGELES (KABC) — Hackers have released data stolen in a cyberattack against the Los Angeles Unified School District, Superintendent Alberto Carvalho confirmed Sunday.

“Unfortunately, as expected, data was recently released by a criminal organization,” Carvalho said in a statement. “Working with law enforcement, our experts are analyzing the full scope of this data release.”

The data was released on Saturday – two days before a deadline the hackers had previously given – following Carvalho’s stated refusal to pay a ransom to an international hacking syndicate.

The group that claimed responsibility for the cyberattack had previously set a Monday deadline for the district to pay a ransom to the organization.

In a dark web post discovered and reprinted by Brett Callow of cybersecurity firm Emsisoft, the hacking syndicate Vice Society listed LAUSD as one of “our partners” and stated, “The papers will be published by London time on October 4, 2022 at 12:00”

The posting gave no indication of what information had been obtained or what would be published.

Carvalho has previously acknowledged that the district received a ransom demand from the group responsible for the Labor Day weekend hack — which he declined to name.

“We can acknowledge … that there has been communication from this actor (hacker) and we have been responsive without engaging in any kind of negotiations,” he told reporters. “With that said, we can acknowledge at this time … that a financial demand has been made by this entity. We have not responded to that demand.”

He did not elaborate on the demand.

Carvalho told the Los Angeles Times on Friday that the district would not pay the ransom demand or negotiate with the hackers.

“What I can tell you is that the demand — any demand — would be absurd,” he told the Times. “But this level of demand was, frankly, insulting. And we’re not about to enter into negotiations with those types of entities.”

A hotline will be available from Monday at 06.00

“This hotline will help those from our school community who may have questions or need additional support,” Carvalho said.

The phone number for the incident response hotline is (855) 926-1129. Hours of operation will be 6:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding major US holidays.

City News Service contributed to this report.

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