FBI, DHS expects an increase in cyber attacks on schools

Published: Sep. 9, 2022 at 6:14 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - The FBI along with the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, which is in the Department of Homeland Security, said it expects an increase in cyber attacks on schools during the school years.

The announcement was made in a cybersecurity advisory on Vice Society, which was the group our KCRG-TV9 i9 Investigative Team learned claimed responsibility for the attack on the Linn-Mar Community School District. An increase in attacks means sensitive data belonging to students, parents, and school employees is more at risk.

According to the Cybersecurity Advisory, which was updated on Thursday, the FBI says Vice Society is targeting school districts nationwide and gives a list of mitigation tools. The advisory also lists a step-by-step guide on how Vice Society gains access to systems and conceals its identity.

Austin Kargl, who is a security engineer at a cybersecurity company called Winsor Consulting, said the Federal Government rarely makes these types of notifications about a specific group and is an indicator that attacks from the group are becoming more common. He said these notifications give cyber security experts instructions on how to identify a common threat, so they can then try to stop it.

This advisory from the federal government strongly discourages groups from making ransom payments, which they say encourages the group to continue attacking schools. Officials from the Cedar Rapids Community School District paid a ransom after a cyber attack, but declined to say who was behind the attack or how much the district paid.