Los Angeles School District Hit by Cyberattack

What does this mean for other US school districts?

Carl Harding, Sandscript Writer

The Los Angeles Unified School district in Los Angeles, California, one of the largest school districts in the United States, was targeted by hackers in a ransomware attack on September 3. A cybercriminal syndicate group known as Vice Society has claimed responsibility for the attack and have stated that they took sensitive data from the school district. This group is well known for its other cyber attacks on the US and UK education systems and is believed to be Russian-based. Vice Society used a well known form of cyber warfare known as ransomware. This virus denies access to personal information or computer systems until a sum of money is paid to the hackers, and if the sum is not paid the data is put online for people to see and use for their own personal reasons. The cyber attack occurred over the Labor Day weekend and disabled much of the computer systems throughout the school district. Furthermore, it disabled the LAUSD’s website. Students and staff were also unable to get into their emails. Additionally, systems that allowed teachers to take attendance and post lessons were also disabled in the cyberattack. Nick Melvoin, the vice president of the LAUSD school board, spoke about the event. 

“This was an act of cowardice. A criminal act against kids, against their teachers and against an education system,” Melvoin told NPR News.

 After the cyber attack was discovered, all 540,000 students and 70,000 district employees were required to change their passwords and the district began rolling out a multi-factor authentication to protect the staff and students information. As of recently, the LAUSD has not discovered any more information from the hackers about the sum of money that is needed to pay for the ransomware to be removed.

This is the 26th school district in the United States that has been hit by ransomware this year and it does not seem to be stopping or slowing down anytime soon. Hackers continue to find new ways of getting through the cyber security in place in the many school districts here in the United States. Now that the second largest school district in the US is now hit by a cyber attack, alarms across the country are rising over the fear that the cyber security in place in many schools may not be able to keep these hackers from disrupting computer systems and taking personal information from students and teachers alike. This could be a huge problem for smaller school districts such as the Duneland School Corporation or the Valparaiso Community Schools as there are not as many students and staff as LAUSD, and skilled hackers like Vice Society could get access to every bit of information on every student and teacher in these school districts. Cyber attacks can ruin peoples lives as important things like emails, credit card numbers, passwords for websites, and other personal information can be stolen and used by these hackers or be put on the internet for anyone to see and use. 


The number of cyber attacks are increasing as the years go on and they aren’t stopping. In fact, they are getting worse and causing many problems not only in the US, but the rest of the world as well. The severity of these attacks is coming to a point where hackers are getting their hands on very important information like nuclear weapon launch codes or even causing entire economies to crash. This is all information that must be kept top secret, and something needs to happen to stop these hackers from destroying entire countries or even the world.