Cyber security experts say more hackers are targeting school districts

VIDEO: Experts warn districts about hackers during pandemic

TULSA, Okla. — Cyber security experts say more hackers are targeting school districts as they make the quick transition to more virtual learning methods.

Before the start of last year’s school year, a ransomware attack targeted Broken Arrow Public Schools.

The district found network and server issues and reached out to cyber security experts to investigate-- they found hackers were disrupting operations by encrypting the system and demanding payment to unlock it.

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BAPS said they do not believe anyone’s personal information was compromised, and they alerted the FBI.

Quentin Rhoads-Herrera, the Director of Professional Services for Critical Start, says many schools will pay the ransom right now, because they are desperate to facilitate learning.

Rhoads-Herrera says school districts may not seem like obvious targets, but they can be easy targets because many have outdated technology and were rushed into selecting vendors to provide distance learning.

His company is seeing an increase in ransomware attacks and he says phishing is always a threat

He advises school districts to educate students, parents and staff, so they don’t fall for phishing scams, saying districts need to take a closer look at their own infrastructure.

Quentin Rhoads-Herrera says schools may have rushed to select vendors to provide distance learning and now is a good time to follow-up and ensure those vendors are meeting industry security standards.