Ransomware attacks have been on the rise in the recent past that they are slowly becoming common. Many have lost so much from the attacks. Ransomware attacks have become widespread probably because of the ease with which they spread.
One common ransomware attack that took the world by storm was the Walcott attack. When such an attack strikes, the first question that you pose to yourself is how much the ransom is. For instance, you may be wondering how much did Walcott pay to Ransomware attack? You ask yourself and try to figure out if the ransom was manageable. This article covers Walcott’s ransomware attack in totality.
Walcott’s Ransomware Attack
The first ransomware attack was on the 13th of June 2019. The attack was severe as it blocked the teachers from retrieving data by disabling the district’s computer systems. Walcott ransomware attack must have been instigated by the fact that the schools are small and have not invested in IT and computer security.
The second attack was on the 4th of September, where Walcott public schools were able to detect some apprehensive activity within the district’s computer networks. This prompted the closure of the computer system as a precaution against another severe attack. The schools’ administration was now on high alert with whatever it is that was happening online after June’s ransomware attack.
The leaders in the region came together to tackle the issue at hand as the effect was felt widely. Sensitive data about the students, parents, and teachers were all at risk. Luckily, by the time the ransomware attack came to light, the attackers had not shared or distributed any of the schools’ crucial data. Moreover, the schools were reopening and that meant there were no materials to use to usher in the students and to run the new term.
The attackers locked out the teachers and the school in general by encrypting its data. The attackers holding Walcott at ransom demanded a ransom payment for them to release the data and give back access to the system. The ransom was less than $10000, which the governing authorities discouraged Walcott from making the payment citing that it is not good practice to pay for ransom.
Some of the downsides plus risks of paying the ransom to cybercriminals include the following.
- The United States government discourages the remittance of any ransom payment to a criminal transmitter.
- The settlement of a ransom does not often imply the guaranteed return of data and access to the system. What usually happens is that the ransomware attacker may receive the ransom payment and fail to release data not access to data. the attacker may go ahead to ask for more money, without releasing the data.
- Ransom payment encourages the hacking industry. The cybercriminals will find it easy to get money from the public as they are sort of sure that hacking into a system and holding a company or institution at ransom generates funds to them.
- Also, ransom payment without dealing with the susceptibility that exposed the institution to the ransomware attack will be in vain as another attack may ensue in the future as cybercriminals scouring for vulnerabilities may want to take advantage of them.
However, the schools did not have a back-up for their data, and that meant that they had to do all they could to get the data back. The lack of back-up left the Walcott school district with no better options. If the teachers were to redo their lesson plans plus additional materials lost. However, that could turn out to be very inconvenient as it requires a great deal of time to redo the task, plus it is frustrating to start the operations of the institutions from scratch.
The Walcott district schools, therefore were torn between making payments to the ransomware attacker. Even as the investigation into the attack was carried out via a cybersecurity task force. Classes continued to operate normally but had no access to most of the useful resources.
Parents were also encouraged to use the telephones as the main means of communication and to avoid using the emails until everything had been resolved and the school was out of harm’s way. However, it was such a reprieve when the Walcott town council voted for the school to pay the ransom of $9999. This would then tell on how to get back to normal.
Ransomware attacks are very detrimental to the operations of an institution or organization. Its successful transmission throughout the computer system of a company can lead to the crippling of all of its operations. Hence, it is advisable to take the necessary precaution to prevent ransomware attacks.